Fund managers say China’s $13 trillion bond market has become an unlikely sanctuary from the volatility that the coronavirus outbreak has let loose in the US and Europe, reported the Financial Times.
The rush for safe assets this year has seen US government bond prices hit record highs and yields hit record lows. This has increased the extra yield offered to investors on Chinese debt, compared with Treasuries, to almost 2 percentage points — the biggest gap in nearly nine years.
Extreme market volatility in March, stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, has shaken up traditional havens such as US government debt, gold and the Japanese yen. But Chinese government bonds, and debt issued by the country’s key development banks, have remained stable by comparison.
All this has prompted some asset managers to anoint China’s renminbi-denominated bond market — the world’s third-largest — as a new refuge. Offshore investors poured in $10.7 billion last month, aided by Chinese bonds’ inclusion in global benchmark indices. “This is going to be the single largest change in capital markets in anybody’s lifetime,” said Hayden Briscoe, Asia-Pacific head of fixed income at UBS Asset Management.