Author: Christin Bahr, Product Management Securities Erste Group
In the context of record lows of money market rates and low government bond yields, high-yield bonds remain in demand. In view of the already very low spreads it may be worthwhile having a closer look at this bond segment.
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The current environment is very positive for the capital markets: strong growth, low inflation, supportive monetary policies, good earnings growth, and low volatilities, i.e. fluctuations. Also, the numerous risks have not had a significantly negative impact on prices. However, the phase of rising prices started as early as March 2009. This environment implies that any change in the relevant parameters such as growth, inflation, and monetary policy would be tantamount to deterioration, given that improvement is not possible anymore. The most important question asked by investors at the outset of 2018 is therefore whether this positive environment is still here to stay.
Capital markets recorded a positive year of 2017. The performance of the various asset classes was of the textbook variety: the higher the risk, the higher the return. At slightly more than 1%, even low-yield asset classes such as euro government bonds or US Treasuries (in USD) posted positive rates of return1). This came as a surprise seeing that many experts had expected higher yields for government bonds, which would have come with negative effects on prices.