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Bloomberg

Goldman Asset Sees ‘Attractive’ Returns for Asia Junk Bonds

(Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Asset Management sees an opportunity in Asia’s junk dollar bonds, which lag the U.S. despite a recent rally.Investors are pouring money into riskier debt globally, after the U.S. election fueled expectations for a split government that would keep yields low longer and following progress toward a Covid-19 vaccine. Yields on Asian speculative-grade notes dropped for seven straight days through Tuesday but are only at the lowest in about a month, while those on U.S. peers have slid to a record low.“We continue to view the return potential in Asia high-yield, in an otherwise low-rate environment, as being attractive,” said Salman Niaz, head of Asian credit. The firm supervised more than $1.8 trillion of assets globally as of Sept. 30.Junk bonds globally have rallied this year after unprecedented central bank stimulus to counter the effects of the pandemic. But the gains have lagged in Asia, where monetary authorities stopped short of buying such debt as the Federal Reserve started doing earlier this year.Investors have been more cautious on the region’s riskier issuers without such targeted support. Jitters over large borrowers including commodities firm Vedanta Resources Ltd., property giant China Evergrande Group and Sri Lanka have also given some buyers pause.Average yields in Asia are around 7.7%, compared with about 4.7% for U.S. high-yield corporate bonds, according to Bloomberg Barclays indexes. Adding to the appeal, the region’s junk bond market has less exposure to energy and Covid-19 related sectors compared to the U.S., according to Niaz.Asian high-yield dollar securities are trading at levels that suggest the percentage of them that may default would be in the mid-to-high single digits, according to the asset manager. But the average default rate for the notes in past years has been only mid-1%.Read more: Biden win to spur flows to Asia already buoyed by virus success“We think the market is too pessimistic about potential default probability over the next 12 months,” said Niaz, who is also an emerging-markets fixed-income portfolio manager at the fund. The region has also handled the spread of the coronavirus better than other areas, which is a positive, he added.Here’s a look at the latest moves in credit markets globally:Asia Spreads on Asian investment-grade dollar bonds widened about 1 basis point on Wednesday, with yield premiums on technology names climbing 2-3 basis points, according to traders.The yield premiums are rising for the first session in seven, after declining 13 basis points in the past six days to 153, the lowest since early March, according to a Bloomberg Barclays index There was a mix of high-yield and investment-grade issuers in the market, with at least six Chinese companies offering notes to investorsBlockchain bonds also got a boost, with China Construction Bank Corp. planning such securities in the latest example of the nation’s growing interest in the record-keeping technologyU.S.U.S. companies were jumping into debt markets Tuesday while it’s still cheap, and before what could be a difficult winter.Verizon Communications Inc. sold $12 billion of investment-grade notes, the fifth-largest offering in an unprecedented year for debt offeringsThat brought total sales for the week above levels dealers had projected on FridayIn the high-yield market, shale driller Continental Resources Inc. sold $1.5 billion of bonds a day after average borrowing costs sank to a record lowEuropeThe European Union priced 8 billion euros ($9.4 billion) of five-year and thirty-year social bonds Tuesday as part of its so-called Sure program.The sale attracted 140 billion euros of combined orders, well short of the record-setting 233 billion euros of demand for its first sale of the notes just three weeks agoThe riskiest form of bank debt is back in profit for the year for euro investors, after rebounding from losses of as much as 26% at the height of the coronavirus selloff in March(Adds global credit details)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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