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Morten Steinsland, head of fixed income at Alfred Berg in Oslo, has been in the fixed income markets for three decades but the other day he saw the scariest chart he’s ever seen.

The chart he’s looking at is the MOVE index, which measures Treasury volatility. And the frightening thing about it is that there’s no volatility.

“This is the scariest graph, I see,” he said in a presentation in Oslo on Wednesday. “There’s really no risk left in the world.”

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Steinsland, who oversees 51 billion kroner ($6.6 billion) in bonds, is blaming central banks for the disappearance of any semblance of risk.

“They control liquidity supply, short and long rates,” he said in interview. “They have taken out the volatility in the markets. As times goes on, one may think that it’s the way it’s supposed to be. But that’s not certain.”

That means that “everything out there” is under pricing risk, according to Steinsland.

The biggest risk in the short term could be a policy mistake as the central banks roll back expansive monetary measures. While a cautious and moderate phase out reduces the risk of the central banks slipping up, tight spreads and low volatility will increase the impact of a misstep.

“Short term I’m not worried. There’s a lot of money out there chasing papers. For the time being it’s going only in one direction and that’s tighter,” Steinsland said.

Alfred Berg’s Nordic Investment Grade fund, which has doubled in size in 2017 to 10 billion kroner, has returned 2.6% year to date. It has a defensive stance with a low duration and about 15 percent invested in AAA.

“You’re vulnerable for spreads widening. You can’t escape that.”

—Read Odds of U.S. Technical Default About 15%, T-Bills Curve Shows on ThinkAdvisor.


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