Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Climate Change Mass Extinction - Birds, Bees and Bugs: Going Going Gone - Richard_Mills
2.A Purrrfect Gold Price Setup! - Peter_Degraaf
3.Who Finances America's Borrowing? Recession Indicator for Independent Thinkers Part 2 - F_F_Wiley
4.America’s One-sided Domestic Financial War - Raymond_Matison
5.Gold Price Summer Doldrums - Zeal_LLC
6.Two Key Events Will Unleash Gold - Jim_Willie_CB
7.Billionaire Schools Teacher in NAFTA Trade Talks - Richard_Mills
8.Get Out Of Crypto Cannabis Bubble Before It Pops and Move Into Bargain Basement Miners - Jeb_Handwerger
9.Stock Market Could Pullback for 1-2 weeks, But Medium Term Bullish - Troy_Bombardia
10.G7 Chaos, Central Banks and US Fed Will Drive Stock Prices This Week - Chris_Vermeulen
Last 7 days
Stock Market Longer-Term Charts Show Incredible Potential - 18th Jul 18
A Better Yield Curve for Predicting the Stock Market is Bullish - 18th Jul 18
U.S. Stock Market Cycles Update - 18th Jul 18
Cayton Bay Hoseasons Caravan Park Holiday Summer 2018 Review - 18th Jul 18
What Did Crude Oil - Platinum Link Tell Us Last Week? - 17th Jul 18
Gold And The Elusive Chase For Profits - 17th Jul 18
Crude Oil May Not Find Support Above $60 This Time - 17th Jul 18
How Crazy It Is to Short Gold with RSI Close to 30 - 16th Jul 18
Markets Pay Attention Moment - China’s Bubble Economy Ripe for Bursting - 16th Jul 18
Stock Market Uptrend Continues, But... - 16th Jul 18
Emerging Markets Could Be Starting A Relief Rally - 16th Jul 18
(Only) a Near-term Stock Market Top? - 16th Jul 18
Trump Fee-Fi-Foe-Fum Declares European Union America's Enemy! - 16th Jul 18
US Stocks Set For Further Advances As Q2 Earnings Start - 15th Jul 18
Stock Market vs. Gold, Long-term Treasury Yields, 10yr-2yr Yield Curve 3 Amigo's Update - 15th Jul 18
China vs the US - The Road to War - 14th Jul 18
Uncle Sam’s Debt-Money System Is Immoral, Tantamount to Theft - 14th Jul 18
Staying in a Caravan - UK Summer Holidays 2018 - Cayton Bay Hoseasons Holiday Park - 14th Jul 18
Gold Stocks Summer Lows - 14th Jul 18
Trump US Trade War With China, Europe Consequences, Implications and Forecasts - 13th Jul 18
Gold Standard Requirements & Currency Crisis - 13th Jul 18
Focus on the Greenback, Will USD Fall Below Euro 1.6? - 13th Jul 18
Stock Market Outlook 2018 - Bullish or Bearish - 13th Jul 18
Rising Inflation is Not Bearish for Stocks - 13th Jul 18
Bitcoin Picture Less Than Pretty - 13th Jul 18
How International Observers Undervalue the Chinese Bond Market - 13th Jul 18
Stocks Trying to Break Higher Again, Will They? - 12th Jul 18
The Rise and Fall of Global Trade – Redux - 12th Jul 18
Corporate Earnings Q2 2018 Will Probably be Strong. What This Means for Stocks - 12th Jul 18
Is the Relative Strength in Gold Miners to Gold Price Significant? - 12th Jul 18
Live Cattle Commodity Trading Analysis - 12th Jul 18
Gold’s & Silver’s Reversals’ Reversal - 12th Jul 18
The Value of Bitcoin - 11th Jul 18
America a Nation Built on Lies - 11th Jul 18
China, Asia and Emerging Markets Could Result In Chaos - 11th Jul 18
Bullish Gold Markets in the Big Picture? - 11th Jul 18
A Public Bank for Los Angeles? City Council Puts It to the Voters - 11th Jul 18
Yield Curve Inversion a Remarkably Accurate Warning Indicator For Economic & Market Peril - 11th Jul 18
Argentina Should Scrap the Peso and Dollarize - 11th Jul 18
Can the Stock Market Close Higher For a Record 10th Year in a Row? - 11th Jul 18
Why Life Insurance Is A Must In Financial Planning - 9th Jul 18
Crude Oil Possibly Setting Up For A Big Downside Move - 9th Jul 18
BREAKING: New Tech Just Unlocked A Trillion Barrels Of Oil - 9th Jul 18
How Trade Wars Penalize Asian Currencies - 9th Jul 18
Another Stock Market Drop Next Week? - 9th Jul 18
Are the Stock Market Bulls Starting to Run? - 9th Jul 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

5 "Tells" that the Stock Markets Are About to Reverse

Credit Crisis Watch- LIBOR Eases Whilst UK Spread Soars on Sovereign Debt Risks

Interest-Rates / Credit Crisis 2008 Nov 28, 2008 - 01:23 PM GMT

By: Prieur_du_Plessis

Interest-Rates Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFor the world's financial system to start functioning normally again, it is imperative that confidence in the credit markets be restored. In order to gauge the progress being made to unclog credit markets, I regularly monitor a range of financial sector spreads and other measures. By perusing these one can ascertain to what extent the various central bank liquidity facilities and capital injections are having the desired effect.


I am planning on updating this “Credit Crisis Watch” regularly as I believe a grip on the credit situation will be key to determining the appropriate investment strategy.

First up is the three-month dollar LIBOR rate. After having peaked on October 10 at 4.82%, the rate declined sharply to 2.13% on November 12, but the healing process has since experienced a setback with the rate edging up to 2.18%. LIBOR trades at 118 basis points above the Fed's target rate of 1.0%, compared with 43 basis points at the start of the year.

crisis-1.jpg

Source: StockCharts.com

Importantly, the US three-month Treasury Bills are trading at a minuscule 0.071%, indicating that liquidity is still being hoarded.

US three-month Treasury Bill rate

crisis-2br.jpg

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The TED spread (i.e. three-month dollar LIBOR less three-month Treasury Bills) is a measure of perceived credit risk in the economy. This is because T-bills are considered risk-free while LIBOR reflects the credit risk of lending to commercial banks. An increase in the TED spread is a sign that lenders believe the risk of default on interbank loans (also known as counterparty risk) is increasing. On the other hand, when the risk of bank defaults is considered to be decreasing, the TED spread narrows.

Since the TED spread's peak of 4.65% on October 10, the measure eased to 1.75%, but has since worsened to 2.10%.

crisis-3.jpg

Source: Fullermoney

The difference between the LIBOR rate and the overnight index swap (OIS) rate is another measure of credit market stress.

When the LIBOR-OIS spread is increasing, it indicates that banks believe the other banks they are lending to have a higher risk of defaulting on the loans so they are charging a higher interest rate to offset this risk. The opposite applies to a narrowing LIBOR-OIS spread.

The movement in the LIBOR-OIS spread over the past few weeks is similar to the TED spread and shows that credit markets are still not functioning smoothly.

crisis-4.jpg

Source: Fullermoney

As far as commercial paper is concerned, the A2P2 spread measures the difference between A2/P2 (low quality) and AA (high quality) 30-day non-financial commercial paper. Although the spread has declined from a record high of 4.83% to 4.27%, it remains at an elevated (i.e. crisis) level.

crisis-5.jpg

Source: Federal Reserve Release - Commercial Paper

Similarly, junk bond yields continue to scale new highs as shown by the Merrill Lynch US High Yield Index.

crisis-6.jpg

Source: Merrill Lynch Global Index System

Another indicator worth keeping an eye on is the Barron's Confidence Index. This Index is calculated by dividing the average yield on high-grade bonds by the average yield on intermediate-grade bonds. The discrepancy between the yields is indicative of investor confidence. A declining ratio indicates that investors are demanding a higher premium in yield for increased risk, showing waning confidence in the economy.

crisis-7.jpg

Source: I-Net Bridge

According to Markit , the cost of buying credit insurance for US and European companies eased somewhat over the past week as shown by the narrower spreads (basis points) for the following credit indices:

• CDX (North American, investment grade) Index: down from 267 to 233
• CDX (North America, high yield) Index: down from 1,546 to 1,376

• Markit iTraxx Europe Index: down from 183 to 163
• Markit iTraxx Europe Crossover Index: down from 915 to 869

• Markit iTraxx Japan Index: down from 350 to 320
• Markit iTraxx Asia ex Japan IG Index: down from 452 to 360
• Markit iTraxx Asia ex Japan HY Index: down from 1,375 to 1,218

The graphs of the CDX Indices are shown below, with the red line indicating the spreads easing over the past few days.

CDX (North American, investment grade) Index

crisis-8.jpg

Source: Markit

CDX (North America, high yield) Index

crisis-9.jpg

Source: Markit

Lastly, some CDS statistics as at November 26, courtesy of Markit . These prices represent the cost per year to insure $10,000 of debt for five years. For example, Italy is in most trouble among the G7 countries with a cost of $139 per year to insure $10,000 of debt.

It is noteworthy that the US and UK CDSs are trading at record levels as unease over the level of national debt takes its toll on their sovereign credit risk.

crisis-10.jpg

crisis-11.jpg

The TED and the LIBOR-OIS spreads have eased (i.e. narrowed) since the panic levels of October 10, whereas the CDX and iTraxx indices have also shown some improvement over the past few days. However, US Treasury Bills and high-yield spreads are still at distressed levels.

In summary, although some progress has been made as a result of central banks' liquidity facilities and capital injections, the credit markets are not yet thawing.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, click here to subscribe to updates to Investment Postcards from Cape Town by e-mail.

By Dr Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis is an investment professional with 25 years' experience in investment research and portfolio management.

More than 1200 of his articles on investment-related topics have been published in various regular newspaper, journal and Internet columns (including his blog, Investment Postcards from Cape Town : www.investmentpostcards.com ). He has also published a book, Financial Basics: Investment.

Prieur is chairman and principal shareholder of South African-based Plexus Asset Management , which he founded in 1995. The group conducts investment management, investment consulting, private equity and real estate activities in South Africa and other African countries.

Plexus is the South African partner of John Mauldin , Dallas-based author of the popular Thoughts from the Frontline newsletter, and also has an exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Research Affiliates for managing and distributing its enhanced Fundamental Index™ methodology in the Pan-African area.

Prieur is 53 years old and live with his wife, television producer and presenter Isabel Verwey, and two children in Cape Town , South Africa . His leisure activities include long-distance running, traveling, reading and motor-cycling.

Copyright © 2008 by Prieur du Plessis - All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilizing methods believed reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Do your own due diligence.

Prieur du Plessis Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules