Money managers at the virtual Milken 2020 Global Conference were largely bullish about stocks, but they outlined a litany of risks facing investors.

Uncertainty on multiple fronts is leaving investors trying to position for a range of outcomes—even the possibility of burgeoning debt loads leaves the U.S. facing a systemic financial crisis or a move toward socialism.

The annual conference, sponsored by former junk-bond investor Michael Milken’s Milken Institute think tank, brings together business leaders, policy makers, money managers, and Wall Street power brokers and is taking place online through Oct. 21.

Myriad uncertainties created by the variance in how countries were dealing with the pandemic, populism, geopolitical tensions, and broader divisiveness are forcing investors to grapple with an array of outcomes as varied as a multidecade growth slump or 1970s-style stagflation and requires “an enormous” amount of diversification, said Bridgewater Associates CEO David McCormick.


Carlyle Group

CEO Kewsong Lee called out the uneven nature of the recovery, even within asset classes and sectors. And while the 2008-09 financial crisis saw a lot of solvent companies become illiquid, the massive stimulus this year has left a lot of insolvent companies that are liquid—including many in industries with existential issues ahead, Lee said. That requires caution as investors look through battered industries.

A lot depends on the trajectory of the virus, but Agnès Belaisch, Barings Investment Institute’s chief European strategist, played down the magnitude of the risk posed by recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Europe. At the beginning of the crisis, about 40% of the population was furloughed, but that is now down to just 6%. “It’s a slow process, but a process back to normal,” Belaisch said. She argued that European policy makers’ ability to get monetary and fiscal policy through without talk of austerity and a focus on

(Bloomberg) — China’s government is expected to price a potential $6 billion bond sale as early as Wednesday, ahead of possible volatility from U.S. elections next month.

The Ministry of Finance is arranging investor calls for 144a and Regulation S senior bonds Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter who aren’t authorized to speak publicly. The ministry is seeking to raise about $6 billion via multi-tranche notes that will likely include three-year, five-year, 10-year and 30-year maturities, Bloomberg reported last week.

Officials at the ministry weren’t immediately available to comment.

The planned bond sale follows the ministry’s jumbo global debt offerings in two currencies in November, when it sold $6 billion of dollar bonds and 4 billion euro notes. The former drew bumper demand with orders at more than triple the targeted size.



chart, treemap chart: Scarce Supply


© Bloomberg
Scarce Supply

China’s fresh sovereign debt sale this week comes as uncertainty ahead of the U.S. elections in November is beginning to weigh on investor sentiment with some analysts anticipating a pick-up in volatility.

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“By moving forward the USD bond auction to October, MOF will avert risks of facing less receptive market conditions and increased volatility due to the U.S. elections,” said Chang Wei Liang, a macro strategist at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore. With the Fed keeping policy rates near zero and yields hovering near record lows, China should see a significantly lower cost of funding across the curve compared to 2019, he added.

China’s Ministry of Finance hired 13 financial institutions for the sale that includes four Chinese firms, according to people familiar with the matter.

(Updates with chart after fourth paragraph, analyst comment in sixth paragraph)

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By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some G20 creditor countries are reluctant to broaden and extend another year of coronavirus debt service relief to the world’s poorest countries, so a six-month compromise may emerge this week, World Bank President David Malpass said on Monday.

Malpass, speaking to reporters as the World Bank’s and International Monetary Fund’s virtual annual meetings get under way, said G20 debt working groups have not reached agreement on the two institutions’ push for a year-long extension of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

“I think there may be compromise language that may be a six-month extension (and) that it can be renewed depending on debt sustainability,” Malpass said.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 major economies are scheduled to meet by videoconference on Wednesday. In May, they launched an initiative to allow poor countries to suspend payments on official bilateral debt owed to G20 creditor countries until the end of 2020, which Malpass said has freed up $5 billion to bolster coronavirus responses so far.

Malpass and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva have been warning that far more debt relief is needed for poor and middle-income countries, including principal reduction, to avoid a “lost decade” as the pandemic destroys economic activity.

Malpass said the two institutions would propose a joint action plan to reduce the debt stock for poor countries with unsustainable debts.

But he said debtor nations were too “deferential” to creditor countries and needed to more forcefully demand a smaller debt burden. “That dialogue hasn’t been as robust yet as I think is necessary to move this process along.”

A new World Bank debt study published on Monday showed that among countries eligible for the G20 debt relief program, external debt climbed 9.5% in 2019 to $744 billion before the

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters)Britain’s debt mountain is likely to rise and hold above 100% of gross domestic product for at least the next few years but Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be in no rush to tackle it with tax hikes, a think tank said.

Public borrowing in 2020 will hit a level unseen outside the two world wars, thanks to the government’s 200 billion-pound ($260 billion) coronavirus spending surge and a 95 billion-pound hole in tax revenues, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.

Britain’s public debt pile has already hit 2 trillion pounds, or just over 100% of gross domestic product.

The IFS said it was likely to stand at 110% of GDP in the 2024-25 financial year, the end of its forecast period.

“Without action, debt – already at its highest level in more than half a century – would carry on rising,” IFS director Paul Johnson said. “Tax rises, and big ones, look all but inevitable, though likely not until the middle years of this decade.”

Just to keep debt at 100% of national income, the government would need to raise taxes – or cut spending – by about 2% of national income in 2024/25, or 40 billion pounds.

The world’s sixth-biggest economy has weaker growth prospects than some of its peers because of the large share of jobs hit hardest by the pandemic and the drag from Brexit, according to analysts at bank Citi who worked with the IFS.

At the same time, demands for higher spending on healthcare are unlikely to fade.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak ripped up the economic orthodoxy of his Conservative Party by unleashing a wave of public spending at the onset of the pandemic.

He says his priority remains to slow rising job losses although he has replaced his

G20 countries may only approve a six-month debt relief extension amid lagging committment to the pact meant to help poor nations weather the pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass said on Monday.

The G20 group of largest economies is set to meet Wednesday after they pledged in April to suspend debt service from the world’s poorest countries through the end of the year as they faced a sharp economic contraction caused by Covid-19.

However, Malpass said relief has been weaker than expected because “not all of the creditors are participating fully,” with only $5 billion granted under the expected $8 to $11 billion, and China among the countries that holding back.

Even with the pandemic still raging, he said another full year of debt suspension is unlikely.

“I think there will be compromise language (on) maybe a six-month extension that can be renewed depending on debt sustainability,” he told reporters.

The Washington-based development lender on Monday said the debt of the world’s 73 poorest countries grew 9.5 percent last year to a record $744 billion, which shows “an urgent need for creditors and borrowers alike to collaborate to stave off the growing risk of sovereign-debt crises triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

World Bank President David Malpass said both private creditors and major economies needed to step up debt relief efforts for poor countries World Bank President David Malpass said both private creditors and major economies needed to step up debt relief efforts for poor countries Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski

The countries’ debt burden owed to government creditors, most of whom are G20 states, reached $178 billion last year, according to the report released as the World Bank begins its annual meetings along with the IMF.

China is the largest of those creditors, seeing its share of the debt owed to all G20 countries rise to 63 percent by the end of last year from 45 percent in 2013.

Malpass decried what