If you are wondering what’s behind the sudden largesse of the European Central Bank (ECB) when it comes to purchases of bonds, you may find a recent speech by an ECB official at a conference about financial stability enlightening.
While regulators focused on making banks safer following the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the non-bank financial sector has been allowed to continue without the same stringent requirements for liquidity and leverage. This gap came into sharp focus during the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With summer over, Italy is back at the forefront of the news – this time not as a holiday destination but in its other capacity, as chief source of market worries. The way things are going, the worries are only just beginning.
Some commentators have warned that a bear market in stocks could be near, citing things like the fall in US long-term interest rates or the decline of volatility as a sign of investor complacency.
But Garry Evans, global head of equity strategy at HSBC, argues that actually, a bear market usually starts when long-term interest rates and volatility are rising – although they are not necessarily reliable indicators.