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Going Their Separate Ways

19 November 2015 by lberuti

The FOMC minutes released yesterday confirmed that the Fed are still on course to raise rates in December. Specifically, it was noted that “while no decision has been made, it may well become appropriate to initiate the normalization process at the next meeting”. Based on the Fed fund future market, the probability of a hike stands at 68%, but hardly anyone doubts that will go ahead. That is in stark contrast with expectations regarding the ECB next course of action. QE expectations in Europe are as high as they have ever been and investors are bracing themselves for a salvo of new easing measures mid-December. It will be the first time in a long long while that central banks in Europe and in the US embark on radically diverging paths. These contrasting environments are being played by credit investors, and some today were buying protection on CDXHY in the US while selling protection on iTraxx Crossover. Generally speaking, relative values are being played and it is obvious for all to see on the above grapple. While CDXIG and iTraxx Main (ITXEB) were trading 1bp apart at the beginning of October (at 96bps and 95bps respectively), they were trading 7bps apart early November (at 78bps and 71bps respectively) and stand 12bps apart at the close (at 84bps and 72bps respectively).