The past year has seen a Chinese currency devaluation, a ratehike by the Federal Reserve, Brexit and a failed coup.

But after risk premiums on the debt sold by U.S. companiesjumped amid the oil price downturn and the market turmoilthat characterized the start of 2016, spreadson investment-grade corporate bond have now tightened to rightwhere they were 12 months ago, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch teamled by Hans Mikkelsen observes. Investors in bonds sold by U.S.companies with relatively stronger balance sheets might have onebig group to thank for the ability of their market to buck agrowing laundry list of potential headwinds.

“Aside from a positive macro environment, as equities aresetting new record highs, we continue to think foreign buyingrepresents the biggest tailwind for our market,” according tothe strategists, who have dubbed overseas purchases of U.S.corporate debt the “electronics for bonds” trade. They explain that“We continue to expect that the U.S. effectively will finance the[current account] deficit in 2016 by selling $400-500 billion ofcorporate bonds to foreign investors” — a figure which happens toclosely align with the $500 billion or so trade deficit the U.S.runs in electronic equipment. “Hence the trade is electronics forcorporate bonds.”

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to Treasury & Risk, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical Treasury & Risk information including in-depth analysis of treasury and finance best practices, case studies with corporate innovators, informative newsletters, educational webcasts and videos, and resources from industry leaders.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Treasury & Risk events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including PropertyCasualty360.com and Law.com.
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.