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In this regular podcast series, MUFG subject matter experts within our business discuss the forces, indications, and policies that impact the U.S. economy and financial markets, and provide updates to their economic outlooks and forecasts for the weeks, months, and years ahead.

The role of AI in scaling ESG’s maturation

Today’s episode is an excerpt from a recent MUFG webinar hosted by Ehsan Khoman, Head of Research for Commodities, ESG and Emerging Markets (EMEA), and Dr. Tobi Petrocelli, MUFG Head of Sustainability & Transition Finance Strategy for the Americas. Tobi and Ehsan discuss the recent report about AI’s influence in scaling ESG’s maturation. Overall, MUFG holds conviction in the merits of the evolution of AI to solve an array of ESG trade-offs. On aggregate, this has the potential to transform the way we approach sustainability to foster a more equitable and just society.

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September 2023 FOMC Preview and Market Implications

George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, returns to review the price action since the summer break and what to expect from the FOMC at the upcoming meeting. George views the current environment as the most challenging for bond bulls, as the longer the Fed stays on hold with all this additional Treasury supply hitting the market, the pull toward higher rates will remain a powerful force. Granted, George does not believe that the window that will be afforded to the Fed staying “higher for longer” will be one that is long enough to fully normalize the yield curve towards the current level of Fed funds (because we expect the policy lags to hit the economy hard in Q4 into 1Q24). That said, the Fed can still use forward guidance signals, such as keeping their rate forecast “dot-plot” higher as a counter-balance to a bond market that is always looking for the next reason to rally. In terms of the FOMC meeting, we expect a slightly hawkish outcome, where the dots will try to pave the way for the Fed to signal they want rates to stay higher. Lastly we expect no change in actual Fed rate policy, a hawkish skip (i.e. no hike at this meeting) is our base-case.

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Response to the question "Who is Going to buy MBS?"

In this month’s episode, MUFG Head of Prepayment Modeling and Strategy, Glenn Schultz, discusses August's prepayment data and answers the question of whether the Spring/Summer selling season prepayment data indicate a structural shift in the agency MBS market back to the “old normal”. He also addresses the question “Who is going to buy Agency MBS?” and how issuance will influence the agency MBS basis going forward.

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

U.S. Fiscal Perspectives and Views thru Labor Day

George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, reviews the recent Fitch downgrade of the U.S. credit to AA+ and compares it to the first downgrade by S&P roughly 12 years ago. He believes this time the backdrop is different given that the debt loads are even larger now and the Fed has rates much higher versus back then when rates were anchored by the near zero rate policy of that time period. Market reactions thus far are also different versus the first downgrade too. The other issue is that the Fitch downgrade occurred during a week when the Treasury was announcing the need to issue more debt and increase the auction sizes of Treasury securities. George has been highlighting that the sequence from the Fed to the BoJ tweaking YCC and then more UST debt, all of which have largely come to fruition as per George’s views, should result in rates in the middle of the yield curve (known as the belly and/or intermediate rates) would do most of the adjustment higher. So far that is what we have seen with 10s now well above the 4% level. Lastly, George looks forward and discusses why NFP, which is always important, but unless it breaks the string of weaker NFP reports of late, than the Fed is likely to skip in September.  

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

The Lowdown on Turnover and Carry Conviction

In this month’s episode, MUFG Head of Prepayment Modeling and Strategy, Glenn Schultz, discusses July's prepayment data and gives the lowdown on the Spring/Summer selling season's turnover. He also reviews relative value across the specified pool stories highlighting those he believes offer MBS investors superior relative carry. Finally, Glenn reviews our basis forecast and makes the argument for our year-end target of 120 to 130 basis points for the 30-year agency current coupon.

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

July FOMC Preview – One (more) and done? Likely the last hike but they will stay data dependent in case inflation flares up again…

George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, expects the Fed to deliver one more hike of 25bps at the upcoming July FOMC meeting. The FOMC statement should not see major tweaks at this time of the year, largely given that it’s a July meeting that sits between Jackson Hole and the September FOMC meeting updates (and also because the June FOMC meeting saw the Fed upgrade its forecasts on growth, inflation and rates).  In order for the Fed to keep all options open and avoid hinting that this may be their last hike they need to keep forward guidance in place by keeping this phrase largely unchanged “In determining the extent to which additional policy firming may be appropriate.”  As George has mentioned before, until chair Powell strikes out the inflation concerns from the opening remarks in the presser, they are focused more on fighting inflation versus being overly concerned about the trajectory for growth. The presser is what ultimately determines how markets read chair Powell’s tone if this July hike was a dovish, neutral, or hawkish hike. We are leaning on the neutral to hawkish side.

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

2023 1st half review and 2nd half outlook

George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, reflects on the price action and economic developments of the 1st half and provides us with thoughts on some of the risks that may lie ahead in the 2nd half. George believes that the markets caught a big break on the back of overly defensive posturing resulting in investors having to chase performance and close out short-positions and underweight level to benchmarks during the start of the year. Granted economic conditions in the U.S. were more favorable than initially feared, the overall global backdrop, especially on manufacturing side continues to weaken. Meanwhile we have central banks that have returned to hiking and the Fed has signaled that they are not done either after having skipped at the June FOMC. In our view, after a somewhat muted reaction to Fed tightening we believe the long and variable lags may actually hit harder now as we go through the 2nd half. George remains skeptical the regional bank crisis is fully resolved and that coupled with off-shore dollar liquidity draining could serve as a catalyst for risk-off. 

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Summer Turnover Beating Expectations and the Set-up to 120 Mortgage Basis

In this month’s podcast, MUFG Head of Prepayment Modeling and Strategy, Glenn Schultz, reviews the implications of how turnover has exceeded market expectations and the implications for valuation across the coupon stack. Notably, we make the case a continued tightening of the current coupon basis and our year-end forecast of 120 basis points against the back drop of prepayment, FDIC bank liquidation, and origination volumes.

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

June FOMC Preview: A skip is in store but all about the messaging…

George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, returns to highlight the scenarios he is expecting at the upcoming June FOMC meeting and the potential market implications. George thinks the aim will be to deliver a hawkish skip, will the markets hear that or something entirely different is what we will be trying to assess. Post Fed we think markets should turn their attention from inflation fears and central bank action towards the growth outlook. We believe quarter-end/month-end has the potential for some early fireworks before we get into the start of summer.

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Japanese lifer earnings, cross-border securities flows and the June BoJ meeting

In today's episode, MUFG Chief Japan Strategist Takahiro Sekido discusses Japanese life insurance company fiscal year 2022 earnings, International Transactions in Securities data and the upcoming BoJ policy meeting. He also shares his views on spot Dollar/Yen, Yen rates, and Yen basis.

If you can’t view the above media player, this podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Learn more

For more information,
contact us.

John Cooke
Head of Rates Sales, Americas
New York, NY
1-212-405-7353
John.Cooke@mufgsecurities.com

George Goncalves
Head of U.S. Macro Strategy
New York, NY
1-212-405-6687
George.Goncalves@mufgsecurities.com

Takahiro Sekido
Chief Japan Strategist
Tokyo, Japan
1-81-3-6214-4150
Takahiro_Sekido@mufg.jp

Glenn Schultz
Head of Agency Mortgage Prepayment Modeling and Strategy
Chicago, IL
1-212-405-6521
Glenn.Schultz@mufgsecurities.com

The podcast content above is being provided for educational and informational purposes only. The information and comments are not the views or opinions of MUFG Union Bank, its subsidiaries or affiliates. Please consult your attorney, accountant or tax or financial advisor with regard to your particular situation.