Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.London House Prices Bubble, Debt Slavery, Crimea 2.0 - Russia Ukraine Annexation - Nadeem_Walayat
2. Gold And Silver – 2014 Coud Be A Yawner; Be Prepared For A Surprise - Michael_Noonan
3.Sheffield, Rotherham Roma Benefits Plague, Ch5 Documentary Gypsies on Benefits & Proud - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Glaring Q.E. Failure Spotted - Money Velocity Is Falling Rapidly - Jim_Willie_CB
5.Don't Miss the Boat on Big Biotech Catalysts: Keith Markey - Keith Markey
6.Gold Prices 2014: Do What Goldman Does, Not What It Says - David Zeiler
7.Bitcoin Price Strong Appreciation to Be Followed by Declines? - Mike_McAra
8.Gold Preparing to Launch as U.S. Dollar Drops to Key Support - Jason_Hamlin
9.Doctor Doom on the Fiat Money Empire Coming Financial Crisis - Andrew_McKillop
10.The Real Purpose Of QE - It’s Not Employment - Darryl_R_Schoon
Last 72 Hrs
Gold and Silver - Counting Blessings and Tender Mercies - 20th Apr 14 - Jesse
The CIA Through The Looking-Glass - 20th Apr 14 - Stephen_Merrill
Gold And Silver - Gann, Cardinal Grand Cross, A Mousetrap, And Wrong Expectations - 20th Apr 14 - Michael Noonan
Nikkei Stock Market - Sell Japan - 20th Apr 14 - WavePatternTraders
America has Become a Police State - 19th Apr 14
Elite Herd Psychology And War By Default - 19th Apr 14
E.U. Officially Adopts the Bank Depositors Bail-In - 19th Apr 14
Goldman Sachs Is Highly Motivated To Low-Ball Gold Price - 19th Apr 14
Save MtGox - Bitcoin Important Implications of Going Down - 19th Apr 14
Stock Market SPX Topping Valuations - 19th Apr 14
Tesco Profits Panic! Back to Back £5 Off £40 Shop Voucher Promotions - 18th Apr 14
The Obama Game - Is Putin Being Lured Into a Trap? - 18th Apr 14
The Growing Threat to Capitalism - 18th Apr 14
Build Biotech Wealth on Solid Platforms - 18th Apr 14
Has Solar Power Finally Arrived? - 18th Apr 14
Bank Depositor Bail-Ins and Real Assets vs Liability-Based Assets - 18th Apr 14
10 Ways to Screw up Your Retirement - 17th Apr 14
One of Harry Dent’s Three Keys to Market Prediction is Cycles - 17th Apr 14
Obamacare Proof Stocks - 17th Apr 14
Gold, Silver And The Mining Sector: Prepare For A Severe Fall - 17th Apr 14
Hidden Australian Life Sciences Bio-tech Growth Stocks - 17th Apr 14
Disrupting Big Data Status Quo - 17th Apr 14
What the Stock Market Bears Have Been Waiting for... - 17th Apr 14
Copper Is Pathological and Suffers from SAD, but It Has Value - 17th Apr 14
Old World Order New World Order, Chaos And Change - 17th Apr 14
Even The US Government Will Abandon the U.S. Dollar - 17th Apr 14
Gold - Coming Super Bubble - 17th Apr 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Will the U.S. Treasury Bond Bubble Finally Burst in 2013

Interest-Rates / US Bonds Nov 30, 2012 - 09:14 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Interest-Rates

Shah Gilani writes: The Federal Reserve's multi-year prescription of targeting super-low interest rates on federal funds, along with various quantitative easing programs, has pushed yields down on all fixed-income instruments to the benefit of issuers and the detriment of investors.

There is little doubt that the Fed's articulated and executed policies have resulted in a bond-bubble with both short and long-term consequences for investors and the economy.


At some point the bond-bubble will burst. But there is no certainty on when that will happen or what ultimately will cause rates to rise.

What investors need to understand is that while yields and bond prices in 2013 could remain flat relative to closing third quarter 2012 measures, yields are unlikely to fall further and prices are unlikely to rally in 2013, with the possible exception of short-term U.S. treasuries.

However, there is the possibility of what I'm calling a "skyfall."

For fixed-income investors this means there is a chance the bond bubble may finally burst.

2013 Bond Market Forecast: From Flat to Skyfall?
Skyfall is the title of the latest James Bond film, which viewers discover is also the name of Bond's childhood home in Scotland, before it is blown apart in the movie's climactic finish.

Now, because interest rates across the board have fallen to historically low levels, the great bond rally could suffer a similar climax.

Here's where we stand now, why the bond rally is likely over, what could happen in 2013, and what early warning signals to watch for to get out of the way of this skyfall.

As yield-hungry investors have plowed more and more money into bond mutual funds, bond ETFs, and, for institutions, individual bonds, issuers from sovereigns to junk dealers have rushed to the market to soak up the trillions of dollars searching for yield.

That circuitous path has kept money flowing into bonds in search of falling yields as issuers take advantage of low rates artificially manipulated by the Fed's actions.

All dollar-denominated bonds issued in the United States (and many issues globally) are priced off the U.S. Treasury yield curve.

That's the scale of interest rates that starts with the federal funds rate (even though the Fed doesn't issue fed funds) and displays the interest rates payable on Treasury bills, notes and bonds, up to and including the most actively watched, traded and talked about 10-year T-bond, all the way to the 30-year T-bond.

Treasury issues are considered "risk-free" because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. to pay all interest and principal on its debts.

All other bonds yield more (pay more interest) than equivalent-maturity Treasury issues to reflect the difference in "quality" between a Treasury issue and a municipal, corporate, or other bond issue.

The difference between what a Treasury's yield is for a particular maturity bill, note or bond and what the yield is on another issue is called the "spread."

The spread refers to the additional yield (the difference in the interest rate) issuers have to pay to attract investors who otherwise might opt for the safety of Treasuries.

As interest rates have been kept artificially low, investors looking for additional yield above exceptionally low-yielding Treasuries have been increasingly willing to accept smaller and smaller "spreads" when they buy bonds that aren't risk-free.

Issuers recognize investor demand for yield and know investors will still buy their bonds even as they offer less and less interest, because whatever yield advantage investors can get, they will gladly take.

As a result, the spread over Treasuries has come down for all issuers from top-rated investment grade issuers to leverage bond and junk issuers.

In other words, investors are not being adequately compensated for the increasing risk they are taking with issuers, who range from investment-grade corporations to special-purpose vehicles issuing junk bonds for leveraged and speculative endeavors.

The Fed's recent announcement that they will buy $40 billion per month of top-rated agency paper (mostly mortgage-backed-securities), only takes even more U.S. government-backed paper out of the market, leaving investors clamoring even more for whatever investment-grade ("IG") bonds they can get. That's a further boon to bond issuers.

In fact, in just the third quarter of 2012 (the latest quarter for which data is available) IG issuance, excluding sovereign, supranational, split-rated and preferred-stock issues, exceeded $215 billion -- a near record.

But that's IG. What's more telling, and evidence of how much investors are reaching for yield further out on the risk spectrum, is what third-quarter issuance was in the leverage and high-yield (junk) markets.

Leverage loans are loans and bond issues backing loans to corporations, companies and other issuers that already have high leverage on the debt side of their capital structure. High yield, also known as junk bonds, are debt issues offered by the most speculative issuers seeking debt financing.

Leverage bond issuance totaled $114 billion in Q3, a record, which included a constituent record $20 billion issued in August, historically the year's slowest month.

At the current pace, with $317 billion already issued year to date, leverage loans are on track to reach $423 billion, or exceed $508 billion if September's $63.5 billion pace continues.

And while the leverage loan market has been flush, the high-yield market has been doing its own hot issuance thing.

Bond-clearing yields fell in the third quarter to all-time lows, even though spreads are still above record lows. High-yield issuance in the third quarter was $91.9 billion, the second highest on record. The highest quarter ever was this year's first quarter at $99.9 billion. Full-year 2012 junk issuance is closing in on the record $287 billion issued in 2010, and likely to exceed it.

Combined leverage and HY issuance in all of 2012 is expected to exceed $748 billion, topping the former record of $679 billion reached in 2007.

We Know What Happened Next....
With rates so low and investor appetites still high, we're seeing more and more "covenant-lite" deals, the ones that afford more protections to issuers than to investors.

Investors need to look through the froth in the bond market and realize that a lot of bonds are issued with call features and are in such demand that they are trading at premiums to par value, or what will be returned at maturity.

It's imperative that investors realize that coupons, or the interest rate that a bond comes to market with, is different than what you will get on a yield-to-maturity basis if you pay a premium, or especially if you pay a premium and the bond is called long before you expect to have held it.

With prices so high and yields so low, all relative to the risk of holding bonds in a bubble-like market, investors need to have an exceptionally strong stomach to wade into the bond market now or in 2013.

Investors also need to beware of false rallies.

The risk-off trade, where equity investors flee to the safety of Treasuries, could make Treasury prices rise and bonds look like a safe haven. They could be, for a while.

Then there's the outside threat of inflation that would cause rates to rise and bond prices to plummet. Or the move to the risk-on trade, which would signal that equity investments are preferred to the low-yielding safety of bonds, which could decimate bond prices.

Or there's the chance that the economy double-dips in 2013, putting pressure on leverage loan and high-yield issuers to make interest payments at the same time that investors flee their bonds and raise capital structure costs for them.

I'll be watching the derivatives markets, namely the credit default swap indexes like CDX-IG-19 to see if default insurance costs start rising, by how much, how fast, and on which indexes.

I'll leave a light on for you, and shout out loud here and in my services if the bond vigilantes start gathering at the end of town.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2012/11/30/2013-bond-market-forecast-is-the-bond-bubble-finally-about-to-burst/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2012 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014