Bond Focus : One Man's CoCo Is Another Man's Junk

This post was written for, a site targeting high net worth individuals in Singapore.

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As we come to the end of the Chinese year of the Horse, markets are ending on optimism which is rightly placed with the European Central Bank readying to embark on their €60 bio bond purchases per month till Sept 2016.

2015 has been a year of many “first’s” with another central bank (Sweden) cutting rates to negative last week as Switzerland making a new world record for the lowest borrowing cost for 10 year money at – 0.011%.

Investors have been driven back to the high yield debt markets as Nestle bonds trade at negative yields and Apple hurries to tap the Swiss franc bond market.

Indeed the past week has been the the best week for junk bonds, year to date, as issuance rose to $9 bio in the US and high yield bond funds saw inflows of $2.9 bio, according to Lipper, the highest since Sep 2014. This is led mostly by oil prices stabilising and Moody’s reporting that default rates are holding steady.

In Asia, markets are calmed as 1MDB, an affiliated company of the government, paying off a loan and Chinese company, Kaisa, sort of out of the woods at the moment.

The reassuring headlines have soothed investor unease and bond recommendations are returning to our mail boxes, along with structured credit options to enhance those yields. I believe I even saw some recommendations to buying Singapore O&G names sometime last week.

That brings me to my topic for today – NOT ABOUT HIGH YIELD CREDITS. For I am not a financial advisor but a responsible citizen writing to a public audience and I will not take to task writing about fads that could fade away as quickly as they started or as oil prices fall again, if we remember the 2014 chase for yields that got us to where we are today.

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