International Bond Markets

Topics: Bond, Bonds, Zero-coupon bond Pages: 7 (2395 words) Published: August 30, 2011


1. Describe the differences between foreign bonds and Eurobonds. Also discuss why Eurobonds make up the lion’s share of the international bond market.

Answer: The two segments of the international bond market are: foreign bonds and Eurobonds. A foreign bond issue is one offered by a foreign borrower to investors in a national capital market and denominated in that nation’s currency. A Eurobond issue is one denominated in a particular currency, but sold to investors in national capital markets other than the country which issues the denominating currency. Eurobonds make up over 80 percent of the international bond market. The two major reasons for this stem from the fact that the U.S. dollar is the currency most frequently sought in international bond financing. First, Eurodollar bonds can be brought to market more quickly than Yankee bonds because they are not offered to U.S. investors and thus do not have to meet the strict SEC registration requirements. Second, Eurobonds are typically bearer bonds that provide anonymity to the owner and thus allow a means for evading taxes on the interest received. Because of this feature, investors are generally willing to accept a lower yield on Eurodollar bonds in comparison to registered Yankee bonds of comparable terms, where ownership is recorded. For borrowers the lower yield means a lower cost of debt service.

2. Briefly define each of the major types of international bond market instruments, noting their distinguishing characteristics.

Answer: The major types of international bond instruments and their distinguishing characteristics are as follows: Straight fixed-rate bond issues have a designated maturity date at which the principal of the bond issue is promised to be repaid. During the life of the bond, fixed coupon payments that are some percentage rate of the face value are paid as interest to the bondholders. This is the major international bond type. Straight fixed-rate Eurobonds are typically bearer bonds and pay coupon interest annually. Floating-rate notes (FRNs) are typically medium-term bonds with their coupon payments indexed to some reference rate. Common reference rates are either three-month or six-month U.S. dollar LIBOR. Coupon payments on FRNs are usually quarterly or semi-annual, and in a accord with the reference rate.

A convertible bond issue allows the investor to exchange the bond for a pre-determined number of equity shares of the issuer. The floor value of a convertible bond is its straight fixed-rate bond value. Convertibles usually sell at a premium above the larger of their straight debt value and their conversion value. Additionally, investors are usually willing to accept a lower coupon rate of interest than the comparable straight fixed coupon bond rate because they find the call feature attractive. Bonds with equity warrants can be viewed as a straight fixed-rate bond with the addition of a call option (or warrant) feature. The warrant entitles the bondholder to purchase a certain number of equity shares in the issuer at a pre-stated price over a pre-determined period of time. Zero coupon bonds are sold at a discount from face value and do not pay any coupon interest over their life. At maturity the investor receives the full face value. Another form of zero coupon bonds are stripped bonds. A stripped bond is a zero coupon bond that results from stripping the coupons and principal from a coupon bond. The result is a series of zero coupon bonds represented by the individual coupon and principal payments. A dual-currency bond is a straight fixed-rate bond which is issued in one currency and pays coupon interest in that same currency. At maturity, the principal is repaid in a second currency. Coupon interest is frequently at a higher rate than comparable straight fixed-rate bonds....
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