Most Popular
1. It’s a New Macro, the Gold Market Knows It, But Dead Men Walking Do Not (yet)- Gary_Tanashian
2.Stock Market Presidential Election Cycle Seasonal Trend Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
3. Bitcoin S&P Pattern - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Nvidia Blow Off Top - Flying High like the Phoenix too Close to the Sun - Nadeem_Walayat
4.U.S. financial market’s “Weimar phase” impact to your fiat and digital assets - Raymond_Matison
5. How to Profit from the Global Warming ClImate Change Mega Death Trend - Part1 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Bitcoin Gravy Train Trend Forecast 2024 - - Nadeem_Walayat
8.The Bond Trade and Interest Rates - Nadeem_Walayat
9.It’s Easy to Scream Stocks Bubble! - Stephen_McBride
10.Fed’s Next Intertest Rate Move might not align with popular consensus - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
Global Warming ClImate Change Mega Death Trend - 8th Apr 24
Gold Is Rallying Again, But Silver Could Get REALLY Interesting - 8th Apr 24
Media Elite Belittle Inflation Struggles of Ordinary Americans - 8th Apr 24
Profit from the Roaring AI 2020's Tech Stocks Economic Boom - 8th Apr 24
Stock Market Election Year Five Nights at Freddy's - 7th Apr 24
It’s a New Macro, the Gold Market Knows It, But Dead Men Walking Do Not (yet)- 7th Apr 24
AI Revolution and NVDA: Why Tough Going May Be Ahead - 7th Apr 24
Hidden cost of US homeownership just saw its biggest spike in 5 years - 7th Apr 24
What Happens To Gold Price If The Fed Doesn’t Cut Rates? - 7th Apr 24
The Fed is becoming increasingly divided on interest rates - 7th Apr 24
The Evils of Paper Money Have no End - 7th Apr 24
Stock Market Presidential Election Cycle Seasonal Trend Analysis - 3rd Apr 24
Stock Market Presidential Election Cycle Seasonal Trend - 2nd Apr 24
Dow Stock Market Annual Percent Change Analysis 2024 - 2nd Apr 24
Bitcoin S&P Pattern - 31st Mar 24
S&P Stock Market Correlating Seasonal Swings - 31st Mar 24
S&P SEASONAL ANALYSIS - 31st Mar 24
Here's a Dirty Little Secret: Federal Reserve Monetary Policy Is Still Loose - 31st Mar 24
Tandem Chairman Paul Pester on Fintech, AI, and the Future of Banking in the UK - 31st Mar 24
Stock Market Volatility (VIX) - 25th Mar 24
Stock Market Investor Sentiment - 25th Mar 24
The Federal Reserve Didn't Do Anything But It Had Plenty to Say - 25th Mar 24

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

On Interest Rates Decision One Million Homeowners Drowning in Alphabet Soup

Housing-Market / UK Housing Jun 06, 2007 - 09:51 AM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash

Housing-Market

"...The City of London leads Europe – and only just tails the US – in packaging debt as an investment product. Most especially, the City loves mortgage-backed securities..."

WILL THE BANK OF ENGLAND raise Sterling interest rates on Thursday? One million British homeowners are hoping they don't.


According to research by Credit Suisse, some £200bn in mortgages – one fifth of the total British market – moved onto two-year fixed packages in 2005. Reaching the end of their deals during the next 12 months, says the Financial Times, these home-owners could see their mortgage repayments jump by nearly one third.

That shock to consumer spending will come even without base rates rising to 6.0% by September, as the London futures market now forecasts.

Professional fund managers might also be hoping for an extended pause in Mervyn King's fight against inflation, too. But you wouldn't know it from their love of fixed-income bonds – most especially securitized debt, backed by loans made on residential property.

The City of London now leads Europe in selling debt as an investment product – most especially these mortgage-backed bonds, known as MBS for short.

Sold to pension companies, hedge funds and investment managers, MBS give investors a chunk of the interest repayments made by home-owners each month. They barely existed a decade ago.

During the first three months of this year, however, sales of residential and commercial MBS by British mortgage lenders totalled £36 billion – well over half of all debt sold onto the investment markets in Europe . The value of new MBS issued in the UK rose 81% from the first quarter of 2006.

With British bankruptcy rates already at record highs – and the damage now leaching into mortgage defaults – you might expect demand for MBS bonds to be waning. But Abbey National, Britain 's second-largest mortgage lender, plans to raise £5.6 billion this week by selling bonds backed by outstanding mortgage loans.

Abbey's had no problems so far finding MBS buyers in 2007. But any hedge funds or pension managers looking to take up its new offer might do well to note the currency market's opinion of where base rates are headed.

Repeating a pattern seen in each of the last four months, Sterling has been bid higher yesterday in anticipation of a hike on Threadneedle Street this week. The Pound reached a one-week high versus the Euro and broke a one-month high versus the Dollar above $1.9960.

Last month's 0.25% baby-step from the Bank of England disappointed the Sterling bulls, of course – and this week's decision could cost short-term speculators dear if Mervyn King and his team delay taking base rates to a fresh six-year high of 5.75%.

But it's not only on Threadneedle Street that professional investors now expect interest rates to increase. All 52 professional number-crunchers surveyed by Bloomberg News see the European Central Bank raising Eurozone lending rates to 4.0% on Wednesday. And in Chicago , the options market now puts the chance of a hike in US interest rates at the end of this month at 41%.

Only a month ago, those same options traders priced the chance that US rates would actually fall as a 4/5 shot.

Whatever is driving this quick turnaround in interest-rate forecasts – be it oil prices above $70 per barrel, or the creeping rise of official inflation data – government bond prices have begun to tick lower. Last Friday saw British gilts complete their third losing week on the run. Prices fell, pushing yields upwards and reflecting the City's consensus that interest rates are about to go higher.

Yet no one seems to have told the institutional or hedge-fund investors buying MBS debt.

New sales of MBS bonds in the US totaled $552 billion between January and March, reports Sifma, the securities association. And despite the collapse of the subprime US mortgage market – where 78 major lenders have gone kaput since the end of last year –private equity firms, hedge fund managers and investment banks can't get enough subprime MBS bonds right now, reports the New York Times.

High-risk MBS and other complex debt instruments are starting to attract "dumb money" along with the "hot money", however. According to Bloomberg, Bear Stearns – a leading Wall Street investment bank – recently sold high-risk MBS to some fifty public-sector US pension funds at a meeting in a Las Vegas ballroom.

"There is a lot of money pent up," says one mortgage-bond salesman. "A lot of people are betting that the US housing market will snap back quickly."

Bear Stearns is also seeking permission to sell high-risk debt to retail investors via the stock market, reports Bloomberg. It wants to list CDOs – the collateralised debt obligations that made up $503 billion of the alphabet soup of global debt issuance last year, a fivefold increase since 2003 – in the same way as the London stock market listed Queen's Walk Investment earlier this year.

Run by hedge fund Cheyne Capital, shares in Queen's Walk lost 25% on one day in March after it said that poor-quality US mortgage loans would hurt dividend payments.

Yet many professional investors, however, keep betting that interest rates will soon fall – and that mortgage-backed bonds will continue to pay.

Today's decision in Frankfurt – and Thursday's vote at the Bank of England – could well be the start of much more than just belt-tightening by one million UK homeowners.

By Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Gold price chart, no delay | Gold prices live | Latest gold market news
City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at www.BullionVault.com , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2007

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.


© 2005-2022 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