Review of the Year 2020

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  • Recovery heralds a new era for global capital markets

    The shock of coronavirus has changed markets — and society — forever. Toby Fildes picks out the key themes that will emerge from that upheaval in 2021. As 2020 has reminded everyone, the unexpected will happen — but markets can cope.

  • The GlobalCapital DCM survey: banks look ahead to restriction-free second half

    Public sector bond issuers surprised on the upside in 2020. In 2021, banks predict them to be big borrowers again — and they expect to make money from them. Twenty-six heads of debt capital markets in the EMEA market participated in Toby Fildes’ annual outlook survey. Only a few firms are expecting to have to cut jobs, but the UK will bear the brunt. On the eve of Brexit taking full effect, Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin look set to be the winning cities. Good news for all: 80% of banks see the last significant Covid restrictions being lifted by the second half of 2021.

  • Loan market wrestles with the last days of Libor

    The death knell has sounded for Libor and the ubiquitous benchmark is entering its last year of existence. But while some market segments have set their houses in order for the change, the loan market has barely begun. Europe’s bankers expect an onslaught of borrowers switching their documents to new rates at the same time. Mike Turner reports

  • Green bond market starts to tackle the tough questions

    Transition bonds are likely to play a prominent role in labelled debt markets in 2021, after the market produced long-awaited guidance in December. As Jon Hay reports, the new market is bound to provoke disagreement — but it will be a creative conflict.

  • New plan for CMU but same old lack of harmonisation

    New plan for CMU but same old lack of harmonisation

    In tumultuous times, the EU’s Capital Markets Union project continues to plod on. As it it is limited by member states not harmonising certain laws, this is not all the European Commission’s fault, but that hasn’t stopped criticism that the executive body has underdelivered. Jasper Cox reports.

  • Rich countries will learn to stop worrying and love the debt

    Rich countries will learn to stop worrying and love the debt

    Governments have had little choice but to load up on debt to save their economies. With the crucial support of low interest rates and vast quantitative easing programmes, there is little immediate threat to debt sustainability. But as Jasper Cox reports, nothing lasts forever.

  • Red states, blue states, green States?

    After four years of the US government noisily refusing to protect humanity from climate change and pushing back on responsible investing, sustainable finance supporters are full of hope that Joe Biden’s presidency will shift the US — and the world — in the right direction. Jon Hay reports

  • Capital markets are missing the human touch

    If central bank and government support was the scaffold that propped up the vast amount of funding done in lockdown, then long-held relationships between institutions — between people — were the bolts holding it together. The longer those in markets spend apart, writes Ralph Sinclair, the weaker those links will grow.

  • Bigger, longer, faster… SSAs rise to the challenge

    Public sector borrowing has been the backbone of the global economy’s response to the unprecedented economic and humanitarian disaster of Covid-19. Sovereigns, supranationals, agencies and regions rose to the new challenge, displaying more ingenuity and ambition than ever in their selection of market, format, currency and tenor and producing some truly spectacular deals. Borrowers throughout the SSA class had to adjust their funding programmes after the first quarter — many to double or even treble their requirements. Contending with inflated funding needs, as well as a market beset by severe dislocations, required unusual flexibility and creativity. Amid all that, SSA borrowers managed not simply to raise the sums required, but to push forward market attitudes to SRI debt and to new risk-free-rates products.

  • Sure-footed super-sized EU arrives in style

    The EU began its evolution in 2020 in becoming one of the largest issuers in the capital markets. While it was plain sailing for the first few deals, there are bigger tests ahead in 2021, with the EU’s borrowing set to balloon even further in size. Burhan Khadbai reports.

  • Atlas-like sovereign debt markets carry Covid burden

    Aside from the tragedy of lives lost, the impact of the pandemic on jobs, production and tax receipts has been cataclysmic. Step forward the sovereign debt markets, ably supported by central banks’ quantitative easing programmes, which have enabled governments to shoulder the heavy load. Lewis McLellan reports.

  • Social bonds must build own network after breakthrough

    The pandemic led to an astonishing surge in the issuance of social bonds this year. But for it to develop further, there needs to be a dedicated investor base, a more diverse range of issuers and a clear understanding of what is meant by social finance. Burhan Khadbai reports.

  • Dollar reliability shaken as euros step up

    In the not so distant past, financial markets looked upon the dollar as the safe haven. But in 2020, the US currency’s very status as the default choice in times of trouble worked against it. Looking ahead, issuers may not be so keen to rely on it when times get tough. Lewis McLellan reports.

  • Swiss franc investors go back to their roots

    Foreign central bank action sparked arbitrage opportunities in Swiss francs to shrink in 2020, so investors took a more domestic approach. As foreign issuance dries up, so too do Swissie mandates for international desks. Frank Jackman reports.

  • FIG deals shine brightly in dark year

    FIG deals shine brightly in dark year

    Nobody will forget 2020 in a hurry. It was the year in which a coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, created economic chaos and forced central banks into swift action. The resulting measures helped to underpin financial markets, bringing yields from record highs in March to record lows in December. But the outlook has always remained uncertain for banks and insurance companies, whose balance sheets are yet to feel the full impact of the crisis. In such a testing year, GlobalCapital wanted to reward the bond deals that achieved stand-out results for issuers — in terms of pricing, execution and timing. The winners are presented here.

  • Banks question capital buffers after stressful year

    Banks question capital buffers after stressful year

    Bank capital has gone back under the microscope during the coronavirus pandemic, with policymakers asking themselves whether the Basel III rules can work as intended. Tyler Davies reports.

  • Crisis puts sub debt to the test

    European banks passed a real-life stress test in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic threatened to topple the economy. The experience has improved the standing of subordinated debt, which is becoming more important for issuers and investors alike. Frank Jackman reports.

  • Central banks set high hurdle for bank financing in 2021

    Bank financing deals are expected to be on the low side in 2021, thanks to the provision of cheap, easily accessible central bank funding and high deposit inflows. Even so, regulatory funding is requisite and covered bonds will still provide an imperative source of long term funding, writes Bill Thornhill.

  • Could mortgage holidays return after Covid crisis ends?

    During spring and summer of 2020, mortgage borrowers in the UK took full advantage of the chance for a payment holiday, with some non-conforming mortgage portfolios seeing payments stop on up to 40% of loans. But investors in RMBS stayed largely sanguine, despite the looming rise in unemployment and the potential for holidays to turn into defaults. Could the moratorium make a comeback in the next crisis? Tom Brown reports.

  • CLO winners to dominate recovering 2021 market

    The US CLO market has been to hell and back in 2020. From the depths of the March sell-off, the sector has faced huge challenges but has seen a remarkable comeback. Bullish sentiment is back on for Q4, and that defines the outlook for 2021. Not all managers will be well placed to take advantage, however, and a wave of consolidation probably looms. By Paola Aurisicchio.

  • Biden victory points to new securitization backdrop

    For many investors, the US election landed in the best possible place — a Joe Biden win with a split Congress, ensuring a strong pandemic plan, yet blocking radical change. But Biden’s leadership will reshape securitization markets through changes to critical regulatory agencies, setting the tone for the next four years in consumer credit, mortgages and green securitization. Jennifer Kang reports.

  • EM borrowers push the boundaries despite virus chaos

    As global central banks rushed to prop up the global economy this year as the coronavirus pandemic hit, emerging markets issuers stormed into the bond markets, raising record-breaking levels of debt. A deluge of deals, including green debuts, 50 year and even century bonds, were snapped up by an investor base hungry for high — or least comparatively high — yielding assets. The GlobalCapital emerging markets editorial team selected the year’s best deals, giving consideration to the fundamentals of the trade as well as the context around the deal. After much deliberation, the winners were selected as the standout deals in unprecedented times. Congratulations to those involved.

  • CEEMEA print sprint to  grow into primary marathon

    CEEMEA print sprint to grow into primary marathon

    CEEMEA borrowers — sovereigns in particular — were forced to ramp up their capital markets borrowing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The elevated issuance volumes are set to stay, even though there are concerns that some emerging market borrowers will need a strong dose of debt relief amid fears about just how sustainable their borrowing levels are. Mariam Meskin reports.

  • Biden brings new set of challenges for EM

    Biden brings new set of challenges for EM

    Investors are counting on the election of Joe Biden as the next US president to bring a calmer, more rational tone to international politics, and perhaps a boost to world trade. But the new administration will also pose specific tests for some emerging markets, as Mariam Meskin reports.

  • Liquid bond market ready to aid Latin America’s healing

    Despite funding stresses in certain Latin American countries, bond markets will continue to help the region with its financing needs. For now, this eases the pressure for reform and fiscal consolidation, but issuers must eventually face up to political and social turbulence. Oliver West reports.

  • Winning deals show corporate bond market at its best

    The corporate sector took the heaviest hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with entire industries pushed to the edge of the abyss almost overnight. Luckily, the bond markets barely missed a beat, because of the heft of central bank bond buying. The deals below are remarkable for having taken advantage of even the most volatile conditions.

  • Covid-hit industries seek ways back from the brink

    The coronavirus has smashed the usual hierarchy of companies, large and small, creating new winners — and many losers. While 2020 was about finding ways to keep their financial lifeblood flowing, in 2021, more permanent solutions will need to be found. This will include bond funding for those still shut out — and M&A. Mike Turner reports.

  • The 18th Syndicated Loan and Leveraged Finance Awards nominations

    In November, GlobalCapital polled loan market participants for its 18th Syndicated Loan and Leveraged Finance Awards. The nominations are listed below, in alphabetical order. We will reveal the winners at a virtual event in February. Further details on the event will be laid out on our website in January. We congratulate the nominees.

  • Private debt spotlight shifts to direct lending

    No two crises are the same, and to expect financial instruments to behave in the same way in each one would be unfair and naïve. But having proved their mettle in the 2008 crisis, the Schuldschein and USPP markets seemed well placed to thrive in 2020. Not so. Instead, it was the turn of direct lending to shine. Silas Brown reports.

  • Fixing Europe’s companies: the Covid rescue playbook

    Corporate finance in 2020 was utterly without precedent. Never before had so many once-stable firms seen revenues evaporate instantly, with so little visibility on when the world might recover. Companies did whatever they could to hang on, pulling every lever available to source scarce cash. As 2021 begins, so will a new phase, where the fallout of the Covid rescue playbook becomes clear. Owen Sanderson reports.

  • Restructuring revolution set to kick off in 2021

    There could be more large restructurings in Europe in 2021 than ever before, as companies seek sustainable capital structures after 2020’s rash of emergency financing. But it’s also a new horizon for the laws that govern restructuring, as countries replace a patchwork of dated and difficult insolvency regimes, and the UK exits the European Union, ending automatic recognition of its court rulings. Owen Sanderson reports.

  • Europe’s equity markets  expect a year of rebuilding

    Europe’s equity markets expect a year of rebuilding

    European equity capital markets could be in for a bumper year, after the historic disruption of 2020. Sam Kerr reports.

  • Green equities set  for red hot 2021

    Green equities set for red hot 2021

    Having lagged behind bonds in embracing the green agenda, the primary equity capital market came into its own in 2020. With investors more engaged in sustainability and fighting climate change, there are hopes that 2021 will be even greener. Sam Kerr and Aidan Gregory report.

  • Convertible market looks to kick on after coming of age

    Convertible market looks to kick on after coming of age

    Convertible bonds have thrived during the pandemic, as companies rushed to raise capital to shore up their damaged balance sheets or to take advantage of the opportunities for growth that the crisis has unexpectedly created. Meanwhile, investors who bought in have been rewarded with strong returns. More of the same is expected in 2021. Aidan Gregory reports

Commercial director of events: Daniel Elton

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Publisher, special projects: Ashley Hofmann

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