October was a broadly positive month for risk sentiment unless you were a Chinese HY debt investor of course. The S&P 500 gained almost 7%, coming off a tough September with Energy and Consumer Discretionary names leading the way. Crude gained once again as supply chain issues persisted and blackouts in some parts of the world affected industrial output. OPEC+ has mostly resisted calls from the US and others to boost output above their preset increments and as price action stabilizes here, they are likely to stay the course there.
The spotlight on China's HY sector got brighter as we saw the stressed real estate sector move another leg lower before the authorities attempted to boost sentiment around the time of the Party's annual plenum. The fundamental issue here remains that companies have too much debt, which they cannot repay without borrowing more. The offshore debt markets have been mostly closed to them, though there are potential measures in the works to help them raise money onshore once again. But details here are sketchy. Evergrande has managed to stave off default by making due coupon payments just within the window of the grace period. The broad China HY sector was down almost 12% on the month.
Fixed Income globally reflected better sentiment though as yields were higher across almost all govt debt. Rising inflation expectations were firmly in place as the Fed's tapering is scheduled to kick off in November. The US dollar was marginally lower and we could see Gold making a move higher into the year-end if inflation concerns persist here.
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November 17, 2021
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