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The Green Budget. Funding issues and debt management. January 2006 Professor David Miles +44 20 7425 1820 david.miles@morganstanley.com Niki Anderson +44 20 7677 6951 niki.anderson@morganstanley.com.

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The green budget l.jpg

The Green Budget

Funding issues and debt management

January 2006

Professor David Miles +44 20 7425 1820 david.miles@morganstanley.com

Niki Anderson +44 20 7677 6951 niki.anderson@morganstanley.com

Morgan Stanley does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision.


Overview l.jpg
Overview:

  • Public sector net debt is likely to continue rising as a share of national income over the next few years, but empirical evidence suggests that this is unlikely in itself to trigger higher real interest rates.

  • Demand for long-dated assets by defined-benefit pension schemes is set to continue, but does not guarantee long term real interest rates will stay low.

  • The Debt Management Office would benefit from locking in low real rates of interest now. Higher issuance of long-dated debt, significantly in index linked form, could also support cost effective wider pension provision.

  • The proportion of debt outstanding in index-linked gilts has been broadly constant in recent years. But the DMO seems prepared to take a more flexible approach going forward.

  • The Government may need to explore new ways to raise funds as debt reaches the 40% of GDP limit.


Public sector net borrowing l.jpg
Public sector net borrowing

£ billion

2004-5

2005-6

2006-7

2007-8

2008-9

2009-10

2010-11

PBR

38.8

37

34

31

26

23

22

Base case 1

38.8

36.8

36.7

36.7

31.5

28.8

25.0

MS central case

38.8

36.0

37.0

37.2

33.6

31.3

27.8

MS worse case

38.8

35.8

36.4

38.5

37.0

34.7

30.6

(1) Base case refers to IFS estimates based on PBR economic forecasts

Source: IFS, Morgan Stanley Research estimates, HM Treasury


Public sector net debt l.jpg

% of GDP

2004-5

2005-6

2006-7

2007-8

2008-9

2009-10

2010-11

PBR

34.7

36.5

37.4

37.9

38.2

38.2

38.2

Base case1

34.7

36.5

37.6

38.6

39.2

39.5

39.6

MS central case

34.7

36.4

37.6

38.6

39.4

39.8

40.1

MS worse case

34.7

36.4

37.6

38.6

39.7

40.3

40.8

Public sector net debt

(1) Base case refers to IFS estimates based on PBR economic forecasts

Source: IFS, Morgan Stanley Research estimates, HM Treasury


Outlook for gross gilt issuance l.jpg

£ billion

2005-6

2006-7

2007-8

2008-9

2009-10

2010-11

DMO/PBR illustrative gilt sales

52

68

64

47

47

47

Base case1

52

71

70

53

53

50

Morgan Stanley central case

51

71

70

55

56

53

Morgan Stanley worse case

51

70

72

58

59

56

Outlook for gross gilt issuance

(1) Base case refers to IFS estimates based on PBR economic forecasts

Source: HM Treasury, IFS, Morgan Stanley Research


How does gilt issuance affect yields l.jpg
How does gilt issuance affect yields?

  • The projections are based on an assumption of no change in tax rates and spending plans – so they exaggerate the likely scale of gilt issuance.

  • But more debt is likely.

  • The interesting question is whether increased issuance is likely to bring about a rise in yields.

  • Historical evidence suggests that this is unlikely.


Gilt issuance and yields l.jpg

Year

Gross (Net)

15

-

Year

15

-

Year

Issuance(£bn)

Nominal Yield

R

eal Yield

2000/01

10 (

-

9)

4.66%

2.06%

2001/02

14 (

-

4)

4.86%

2.37%

2002/03

26 (9)

4.71%

2.21%

2003/04

50 (29)

4.70%

2.04%

2004/05

5

0

(35)

4.74%

1.85%

2005/06

52 (38)

4.3

0

%

1.5

3

%

Gilt issuance and yields

Source: Bank of England, Debt Management Office


Change in debt to gdp ratios for g7 countries l.jpg

30

Change in debt to GDP ratio 2000-05

20

10

0

Debt to GDP ratio (%)

Canada

France

Germany

Italy

Japan

United

United

-10

Kingdom

States

-20

-30

Change in debt to GDP ratios for G7 countries

Source: OECD




Government debt and real interest rates l.jpg
Government debt and real interest rates

Source: Morgan Stanley Research estimates, ONS, OECD, Global Financial Data


The sustainability of low interest rates l.jpg
The sustainability of low interest rates:

  • Whether or not low interest rates are sustainable is important for debt management.

  • If today’s low levels of real interest rates on government debt are here to stay then it is not so clear that locking in borrowing costs by issuing long dated bonds is necessarily the best strategy.

  • But if the real cost of issuing debt is likely to be significantly higher than today in the next 10 years, then the cost of funding can be minimised by issuing long dated bonds now.


The sustainability of low interest rates13 l.jpg
The sustainability of low interest rates:

  • Global savings glut?

    • Not big enough to explain large fall in interest rates


Global savings l.jpg
Global savings

Source: IMF World Economic Outlook database (September 2005)


The sustainability of low interest rates15 l.jpg
The sustainability of low interest rates:

  • Global savings glut?

    • Not big enough to explain large fall in interest rates

  • Rise in risk aversion/lower GDP growth?

    • Cannot account for fall in context of asset pricing model


The sustainability of low interest rates16 l.jpg
The sustainability of low interest rates:

  • Global savings glut?

    • Not big enough to explain large fall in interest rates

  • Rise in risk aversion/lower GDP growth?

    • Cannot account for fall in context of asset pricing model

  • Pension fund rebalancing?

    • Most convincing explanation for current low levels

    • But future impact on yields could be muted


Pension fund bond purchases versus gilt supply l.jpg
Pension fund bond purchases versus gilt supply

Source: Morgan Stanley Research estimates


Funding and funding strategy l.jpg
Funding and funding strategy

Source: Debt Management Office


Funding and funding strategy19 l.jpg
Funding and funding strategy

Source: Debt Management Office


Funding and funding strategy20 l.jpg
Funding and funding strategy

  • Strong case for significant funding from long-dated, substantially index-linked, debt. This case is strengthened if long-dated yields are temporarily beneath sustainable levels.

  • It is not that one can be sure that we are in the midst of a bond market bubble - there are some reasons to believe that sustainable real yields may have moved down.

  • But the scale of the fall in real yields is so great that the risks have now become asymmetric - the chances of real yields going higher from here are greater than their going lower. Locking in at today’s low real yields by issuing long dated indexed debt is therefore sensible.


Buying back company pension liabilities l.jpg
Buying back company pension liabilities

  • David Willetts recently proposed that companies might be given the option of, effectively, selling to the government that part of their obligations to pay pensions to past and current employees that reflected the contracted out rebate. In principle the idea is simple, though in practice there are difficulties.

  • There would be an economic gain if the cost to the public sector of having the obligation to pay higher state second pensions in future were smaller than the cost to companies of holding the same obligations. That would be true if companies were less able to manage the risks of holding those obligations – longevity risks and risks of assets underperforming.


Buying back company pension liabilities22 l.jpg
Buying back company pension liabilities

  • The issue of whether the government should buy some of these pension obligations from companies is similar to the question of whether the government should issue longevity bonds.

  • But the government already has huge exposure to unanticipated rises in life expectancy. So it is far from clear that taking on more longevity risk is optimal.

  • Buying pension obligations from companies would, however, generate substantial cash. If those obligations were not treated as on a par with government debt, then the strategy would ease the constraint that the 40% net debt limit creates.



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