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Whitepaper - February 2019

Catch Me If You Can – Capturing Runaway Asian Spreads in the Equity World

The big story in 2018 has been the surge in spreads of USD Asian High-Yield bonds. Hit by a combination of higher US interest rates, a stronger USD, and volatile geopolitics, the risk premium demanded by investors for holding Asian High-Yield corporate bonds surged in 2018 returning to their 2015 highs. In this research note, we use the newly released APAC ex-Japan model from Axioma (AX-APxJP4) to construct an equity portfolio of high-yield issuers and use the new fundamental style factors in the model to draw a parallel between the equity and the bond world. The idea behind this exercise is to see if we can create a sort of ‘canary in the coal mine’ equity portfolio that will mimic the warning signs of spreads in the bond market for equity investors. We find that exposures to the additional fundamental style factors in the new model accurately capture the profile of high-yield issuers and can help equity investors build an early warning system mimicking that of rising spreads in the bond market.


Olivier d'Assier

Senior Principal, Applied Research - APAC