Life must be lived forwards, but it can only be understood backwards. So wrote the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard in the 19th century. He was writing about human consciousness, but this epigram can just as easily apply to the collective life of countries such as Cambodia, whose tragic history continues to shape its existence.
It seems like only yesterday that Green bonds were the coolest toy in the panoply of socially responsible investments, but they may soon feel old hat if a sudden flurry of new ethical fixed income products is anything to go by.
Asia’s high-yield bond market received a long-overdue reality check last week when Eros International became the first issuer from the region to pull a G3 bond deal since November.
The delayed merger of State Bank of India with its affiliates is keeping India’s largest banking group away from the capital markets, its chairman said in an interview.
I had a chat with an old friend from the Asian debt markets recently who is involved with something that I had long envisaged and, in my flights of fancy, even imagined setting up myself – that is a “bond app”.
I have watched India’s bond market from the sidelines over the years, bewildered at how the enthusiasm in the Indian financial community fails to translate into concrete price action in the markets.
Forgive me for adding to the slush-pile of comment on the newly installed Donald Trump administration, but I think it’s justified. I doubt that any investor, whether private or institutional, can afford not to have their eyes on the ball when it comes to the potential for the latest executive order from the White House to stymie their otherwise rational assessment of global capital markets.
It wasn’t so long ago that Mongolia was the darling of the international capital markets. The country’s stratospheric economic growth – it hit 17.5% in 2011, the highest in the world that year – and its frontier market credentials made it second to none as a must-have investment.
Things are looking up in the Asian loan market. I spoke on the phone last week with a veteran loan banker, an old friend, who informed me over the background noise of a bar in Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong that syndicated lending is back in business after a lull of around two years - using rather colourful language that might have emerged from the mouth of the newly elected American president.