Review of the Year 2018 and Outlook 2019

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  • Capital markets find a sense of purpose

    Financial markets are often seen as cold, calculating machines for making money. That is part of their function. But increasingly, people are talking of markets’ broader social purpose — that they exist to serve humanity and make its existence healthier and more sustainable. Toby Fildes argues that, 10 years on from the crisis, this new ethos will govern the markets’ future.

  • DCM foresees a tougher market

    Pain from Brexit, higher interest rates, quantitative easing ending and political strains in the EU will all lead to more volatility in 2019, according to 22 heads of debt capital markets in the EMEA market, including 18 of the top 20, in Toby Fildes’ annual outlook survey. And that’s before Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman get going. There is some good news, however: financial institutions are set to be big issuers, and the DCM heads expect to be net hirers...

  • Wounded London faces long Brexit contest with continent

    London has peaked as Europe’s capital markets hub. But how much of the business it will lose is still to play for. Bankers’ faith that only some functions need go looks misplaced. The stage is set for a drawn-out poker game between banks wanting to stay in London and continental regulators who hold a strong hand.

  • Going solo: capital markets prepare for a world without QE

    It has only been four years, but the European bond markets have become attached to the kindly hand of Mother ECB. Quantitative easing has been like an electric motor on the market’s bicycle — in 2019, it will have to go back to doing all the pedalling itself. Can the market do it without falling off, when the road ahead is so bumpy?

  • Italy's attitude highlights Europe’s reform deficit

    Italian populists rocked Europe in 2018, bringing fresh political and market turmoil, highlighting the EU’s failures while simultaneously making it harder to solve them. When the next crisis arrives, the bloc may well rue missed opportunities to shore up the financial system.

  • Capital markets must avoid the optimism trap

    Sustainability is conquering finance — to judge by what the industry likes to talk about. Outside the window, the real economy continues much as before. Is all the noise about green finance actually shifting capital in the right direction — or is it just making people feel better?

  • Trump calls high tide on financial regulation

    US lawmakers have penned their first major reform of the policies drawn up to make banks safer after the financial crisis, and signs suggest that further deregulation could be on the cards during president Donald Trump’s remaining time in office. Tyler Davies asks if this is the beginning of the end for the international push towards tougher banking rules?

  • Emerging markets: it’s the US economy, stupid!

    Emerging market bond investors are in the awkward position of having to wish for bad economic news. Not in EM, but in the US, where the roaring economy is driving the Federal Reserve into a fast tightening cycle that has savaged the investment case for EM bonds and pushed several weaker states to the brink of catastrophe. As Lewis McLellan reports, the recent plunge in US equities offers a whiff of hope.

  • White hot levfin market faces intense 2019

    The leveraged finance market has been the best business for capital markets banks this year — but rising debt levels, weakened investor protections and the rapidly growing volumes have brought regulatory attention. Some banks are pulling back from the most aggressive deals, but others are taking their place, and a burgeoning non-bank lending sector is keeping the market white hot regardless.

  • Bruised IPO market prepares for tough 2019

    Equity capital markets bankers are expecting to be busy in 2019 despite the volatility that has marred the last few months of 2018. Nevertheless, they are predicting IPO sellers to be far more cautious when the market re-opens in January.

  • Schuldschein’s tech mania leaves endgame unclear

    A revolution is occurring in the Schuldschein market. This sedate and sober instrument has shaken its fusty reputation and transformed into a bustling hotbed of technological progress. Seven digital platforms sprang up in 2018, each declaring a grand ambition to drive efficiency. But with platforms jockeying for position, under the eye of the German regulator, some question the rate of change and the authenticity of some agents of it.

  • New risk-free rate fog begins to clear

    Work to bring the new risk-free rates to the dollar and sterling bond markets began in earnest this year as several issuers brought notes linked to them. But 2019 could be where clarity emerges on which of the different structures will win out.

  • TD Securities Risk-Free Roundtable: Risk-free rates - Sonia and Sofr at the forefront of new era

    The bond market is well ahead of schedule in its adoption of potential Libor replacements, with several issuers having printed notes linked to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (Sofr) in the dollar market, and to the Sterling Overnight Index Average (Sonia) in sterling. Borrowers are setting strong standards for other participants to take up, as well as adjusting structures to ensure the eventual market is optimal. That does not mean the job is finished, of course. GlobalCapital spoke to some of the pioneers in the Sonia and Sofr markets about their work so far — and the challenges ahead.

  • 2018 bond deals of the year: SSAs

    In the last year that sovereigns, supranationals and agencies could enjoy the effects of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme — but still had to cope with the Fed pushing up rates — GlobalCapital’s SSA team used its editorial judgement, with inspiration from GC’s world-famous bond comments and patented BondMarker app, to pick what it felt were the top trades of the year. The team strove to find deals that were not just the biggest — it looked for trades that set pricing markers, were innovative and brave or that made an impression in other ways. GC presents the winners here. Congratulations to the issuers and banks involved.

  • ‘Art over science’ for resilient dollars in 2019

    The dollar SSA market at the end of 2018 was in stark contrast to euros, despite the latter outstripping it in volume over the year. Even uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s rate path in 2019 seems unlikely to shake the fortitude of the currency as a funding source for SSAs. But finding windows could become trickier as the Fed pulls liquidity amid global trade wars and rising populism.

  • Annual LBBW Euro SSA Roundtable: SSAs face up to a funding world without QE

    Public sector borrowers are confident going into the euro bond market next year, with reinvestments from maturing bonds held by the European Central Bank likely to cap any spread widening from the end of quantitative easing. But political threats — from populists polling well ahead of European Parliament elections in May, Brexit probably in March and the Italian government’s stand-off with the European Commission over its budget plans — are likely to bring volatility, meaning timing will perhaps be more important than in 2018. GlobalCapital brought together European SSAs, investors and investment bankers to discuss what 2019 holds for the euro market — as well as the SRI sector and new technology.

  • Eur-on your own — life after ECB QE

    SSA euro issuance outstripped dollars this year, thanks to strong conditions in the first half and the vagaries of the basis swap. But the end of eurozone quantitative easing and political strife made it a trickier place later in 2018 — and those elements are unlikely to disappear in 2019.

  • Nordic agencies’ top ratings under threat

    Public sector agencies from the Nordic region are adapting to S&P Global Ratings’ overhaul of its rating methodology. So far, only KommuneKredit has been downgraded under the new rating criteria, but others could suffer similar fates.

  • Brexit bites sterling’s pound of bond flesh

    After back to back record years for non-UK sterling SSA supply, the 2019 outlook is obscured by thick Brexit fog. Nevertheless, public sector borrowers have a host of non-core currency options to tap as currency diversification becomes increasingly important.

  • Swiss francs ready to celebrate normality

    As central banks retreat from public markets, spreads are widening in dollars and euros, and cross-currency basis swaps are improving for international borrowers, Swiss bankers believe the good times might be returning to a market once known the world over for diversification and arbitrage.

  • 2018 bond deals of the year: financial institutions

    After several years of very favourable conditions in new issue markets, 2018 has turned into something of a bitter pill for financial institutions. A sharp repricing of risk pretty much wiped out investment returns for many funds, as the market faced up to concerns about global growth, the end of QE and the rise of populism in mainstream politics. This backdrop made life extremely difficult for issuers and bookrunners wanting to make the most of the primary market. GlobalCapital wanted to reward the new issues that achieved stand-out results for issuers, in terms of pricing, execution and timing. The winners are presented here:

  • Banks in 2019: learning to live with tougher markets

    GlobalCapital has put together a series of infographics looking at the financial institutions bond market in 2018 and in the year ahead.

  • Covered bond issuers face up to life without ECB handouts

    The European Central Bank’s withdrawal from the covered bond market will reverberate through 2019. Amid tougher markets, issuers will also have to grapple with substituting the enormous handout from the targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO II).

  • Crucial year ahead for green covered bonds

    The Covered Bond Directive is reaching a critical stage that will determine the market’s form and shape for years to come. Luca Bertalot, general secretary of the European Mortgage Federation and European Covered Bond Council, discusses this — and other key factors that will drive the market in 2019.

  • Banks brace for stormy markets amid MREL build-out

    Supply of MREL-eligible debt is expected to boom in 2019, when all European banks will finally be in a position to issue senior bonds that count towards the requirement. But a full range of issuers will be competing to issue these new and more expensive instruments at a time when markets are becoming increasingly volatile. Stand by for pulled deals and creative funding strategies.

  • Skeletons in the reg cap closet come out to haunt

    Capital instruments issued by financial institutions under previous regulatory regimes was a topic of contention in several instances this year. With regulators set to lay down further positions, legacy capital will remain on the agenda in 2019.

  • Insurance shake-ups keep debt market busy

    Supply of bonds issued by European insurers has been driven by firms merging, demerging and re-orientating, keeping investors and bankers on their toes. Will the conditions persist in 2019?

  • 10 years of post-crisis securitization

    The securitization market has been to the brink and back. From the depths of the financial crisis, the market faced huge obstacles before it was able to stage its impressive comeback in the last five years. Max Adams charts some of the highs and lows for the market in the decade since Lehman Brothers’ collapse and the financial crisis.

  • Securitization, from high finance to the high street

    Securitization markets involve some of the most esoteric, obscure parts of investment banking. Traders and bankers rarely court publicity, while deals are placed to a specialist subset of the fixed income buy-side. Yet, 10 years after the financial crisis, securitization affects almost every part the real economy.

  • Risk transfer market readies new frontiers

    Synthetic risk transfer markets have had another good year, with the core group of banks active in the market returning to issue, smaller firms mulling the market, and investors raising new cash to buy deals. But perhaps most exciting is the development of a whole new issuer base, in the shape of multilateral development banks, following the landmark ‘Room2Run’ deal between the African Development Bank and Mariner Investment Group.

  • European securitization poised for new year regs

    The European Union’s new securitization regulations come into effect on January 1, a year after publication. Market participants hope they will help spark an industry revival, 10 years on from the global financial crisis. But lingering concerns could stall issuance of European ABS as 2019 gets under way.

  • Securitization runs hard to keep up with the US consumer

    Consumer spending habits have changed beyond recognition since the financial crisis 10 years ago. US households are more wary of debt and are turning away from many of the traditional avenues of spending that have driven ABS markets for decades. While the market has come back since the depths of the crisis, securitization in 2019 is a different beast.

  • Private label set for comeback in 2019

    Once a big portion of global structured finance, non-agency RMBS has been a small part of the MBS market since 2008, in spite of a housing recovery in the US. Alexander Saeedy examines the outlook for a comeback of private label bonds in 2019.

  • Peak CLO market prepares for rate cycle gyrations

    Against a backdrop of rising Libor rates, deteriorating loan covenants and strong corporate earnings, CLO participants in 2018 had to digest a host of mixed signals from the market. Investors and managers are cautiously eyeing a continued bull run as the sector comes to a late-cycle crossroads in 2019.

  • GSEs finally face up to change, 10 years on from crisis

    It has been more than a decade since the US government nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises at the heart of US housing finance. Private sector advocates have hotly contested their conservatorship — without results — but 2019 be the year that that changes.

  • Private debt markets relish the rocky road ahead

    Conditions have rarely been sweeter for European borrowers seeking to diversify their funding sources. Europe’s dominant private debt markets for investment grade issuers, the US private placement market and the Schuldschein, are thriving, and agents in both are on the hunt for new borrowers. Their search will better if, as expected, public bond markets have a tough 2019. Silas Brown reports.

  • Can reverse Yankees find forward gear again?

    The volume of euro bond issuance from US companies fell sharply in 2018 compared to recent years. The finger of blame was quickly pointed at Trump’s tax changes, but there were other forces at play. Can the barriers be lifted in time for a better 2019? Nigel Owen reports.

  • Corporate bond deals of the year

    Despite the continuation of the ECB’s corporate sector purchase programme in 2018, global political and economic worries caused heightened volatility in the corporate bond market throughout the year. All issuers who executed their deals in 2018 will be happy with their work. However, a handful of transaction stood out for specific congratulations as the winners of our awards this year.

  • Rainmakers fail to quench loan market’s thirst

    Mergers and acquisitions in Europe are back. But what loans bankers have long hoped would be great news for their businesses is in most cases turning out to be a far less lucrative development, as companies increasingly turn to smaller banking groups to finance their acquisition plans. By Michael Turner.

  • Vibrant levfin market needs to cool its boots as rates rise

    Europe’s leveraged finance market has survived another year without a downturn — indeed, spirits are remarkably buoyant going into 2019. The market is priced for perfection, however, and with rates starting to rise, issuers and investors have some serious forward planning to do. Victor Jimenez reports.

  • The 16th Syndicated Loan and Leveraged Finance Awards: nominations

    In November, GlobalCapital polled loan market participants for its 16th Syndicated Loan and Leveraged Finance Awards. The nominations are listed below in alphabetical order. We will reveal the winners at the Awards Dinner, to be held on February 6, 2019 at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London. For details on attending the event, please contact Daniel Elton at delton@euromoneyplc.com, +44 20 7779 7305.

  • ECM in 2019: Brexit pursued by a bear?

    Volatility has returned to equity capital markets, derailing indices and making new capital raising much more difficult. ECM deals can still offer investors a way to outperform, but when markets are tough, their risk appetite shrivels. Many political shocks could hurt in 2019, starting with Brexit and a global trade war. But overshadowing all this is the fear that a more profound pessimism has returned to stalk equity markets, after their long upward decade. Sam Kerr reports.

  • US convertible boom gives Europe something to hope for: rate rises

    Rising interest rates in the US have created a roaring market for convertible bonds. Europe’s barren market has been put to shame — it risks being the driest year for two decades. Going into 2019, Europe is likely to remain in the shade of the US, but there are hopes of an issuance rebound — that is if interest rates ever start to rise. Aidan Gregory reports.

  • Kazakhstan to lead EM IPO pipeline in 2019

    A host of emerging market opportunities are set to be presented to equity investors in 2019 with Kazakhstan likely to lead the way with a number of highly anticipated listings. Sam Kerr reports.

  • 2018 bond deals of the year: emerging markets

    For CEEMEA and Latin American bond issuers, 2018 was not an easy year. To get a good deal done required impeccable timing — to the point of fortune telling; a nimbleness around political landmines in both regions, rising rates and falling currencies; and the courage to make difficult decisions on pricing. Often, the deals offered to issuers were not the ones they were used to. But in some cases, that did not mean they were wrong to print. Picking out the Deals of the Year for 2018 was not a straightforwardtask for GlobalCapital’s editorial team. But after much deliberation, the below were chosen, representing those market triumphs that stood out in a year of crises.

  • Year of drama for EM as politics take centre stage

    Frenetic bond issuance at the start of the year smashed records for volumes in CEEMEA as borrowers sought to get ahead of rising US rates. But although the US’s hiking trajectory was the main concern at the start of the year, political spice, currency crises, sanctions and bailouts all combined to beat up EM bond markets in 2018. By Francesca Young and Oliver West

  • Nimble Russian borrowers reveal agility amid shut-out

    The US slammed the international bond market shut to Russian borrowers in April by imposing sharp sanctions on a few private companies. Seven months later Gazprom sold a euro bond, but it is a unique credit. Investors are still terrified of another kicking from Western authorities. Francesca Young speaks to Russian borrowers about how they are planning their funding in uncertain times.

  • Turkey claws its way back from the cliff edge, but pain lies ahead

    Once a darling of emerging markets investors, Turkey flirted with disaster in 2018 when instead of battling out-of-control inflation it followed voter-pleasing policies and plunged into a recession, amid a poisonous combination of political and monetary forces. Although Turkey and its banks have swiftly regained debt market access, its future is clouded by the harsh realities of global economics, write Lewis McLellan and Mariam Meskin.

  • No end in sight for Middle East debt bonanza

    The Middle East has been fuelling business in the CEEMEA bond and loan markets for the last 12 months. That looks set to persist in 2019, when the region’s big hitters are expected to come with multi-billion dollar financing needs to both markets. Michael Turner and Francesca Young report.

  • LatAm looks to technicals to withstand storm

    Battling a host of problems — local and global — Latin American bond markets suffered a torrid 2018. Many issuers stayed away, high yielders struggled to find financing and investors booked losses. With more volatility expected, political developments in LatAm’s three largest economies could make or break the region’s bond markets in 2019. Oliver West reports.

  • Emerging market structured funding expands frontiers

    A niche corner of the interbank lending market between Western and emerging market financial institutions has been thriving behind the scenes of volatility in public EM markets, as its activity spreads across regions and innovation in its financing products flourishes, writes Ross Lancaster.

  • Punishing year for risk premia strategies prompts self-reflection

    Risk premia strategies — a growing form of quantitative passive investing — performed poorly in 2018, with many flagship funds and strategies under investor scrutiny. Experts in the space have been soul searching and are looking for a reprieve in 2019. Costas Mourselas reports.

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