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Can global high yield investors continue to profit from low risk of default?

Bron: Article Spencer Hogeweg Portfolio Manager Credits Aegon Asset Management - 25 april 2019

High yield investors had a good start of the year with returns exceeding 6% in Europe and 8% in the US (in dollar terms). That raises the question: where do we go from here? Obviously, the high yield market is not a very liquid market and entry fees are substantial. But is there any need to sell already? Or should we continue to profit from this clear-cut and exploitable market anomaly?

The latest edition of the Deutsche Bank AG's default study suggests that credit spreads are still relatively wide. The following chart shows the annual default rate on high-yield bonds rated single-B by Moody's Investors Service. What stands out is the reduction in the default rates since the dot-com bubble, which coincides with the decisions that the central banks in the developed markets made to slash interest rates and keep them at historically low levels. Low interest rates make it easier to meet debt payments and facilitate refinancing of debt, allowing corporates more time for a turnaround.

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