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How much do you know about rates?

  • How much do you know about rates?

    Recognise the different terms related to interest rates and understand how much yield global government bonds can offer.

    Read more
  • Four essential keywords related to interest rates

    Central banks in some emerging and Asian markets have started to hike rates, but deposit rates may not necessarily move in tandem. This would gradually erode depositors’ purchasing power in an inflationary environment. To achieve potential returns that beat inflation, deposit-focused investors should base any investment decisions on their risk tolerance levels and wealth management objectives.

    Read more
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    Many Asian governments are considering incentives to encourage larger families. These evolving policies will be vitally important, as the region looks to sustain a fast-greying population.

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28 February 2022

1. How does the coupon rate differ from yield to maturity?

The coupon rate is the annual interest rate a bond issuer promises to pay bondholders. For instance, a fixed-rate bond pays a fixed coupon rate for the bond’s entire duration. However, the amount of interest received by bondholders each time depends on the principals, coupon rates, and coupon payment frequencies each year.

 

Yield to maturity (YTM) is the expected annualised return an investor would receive for holding the bond until maturity. The YTM calculation considers potential coupon income and bond price movements that reflect the actual rate of return.

 

Bond prices in secondary markets are affected by multiple factors that also impact YTM.

 

· If a bond is purchased at a price equal to its face value (i.e., at par), the YTM is the same as the coupon rate.

· If a bond is purchased at a higher price than its face value (i.e., at a premium), the YTM is lower than the coupon rate.

· If a bond is purchased at a lower price than its face value (i.e., at a discount), the YTM is higher than the coupon rate.

2. What is the risk-free rate?

The risk-free rate is the return from an investment made in a nearly zero-risk asset. The yield of the 10-year US Treasuries is regarded as a risk-free rate indicator because the US has a relatively high sovereign credit rating1, and the market generally believes the US government is unlikely to default on its debts.

 

Investors typically use the risk-free rate as a benchmark to evaluate the attractiveness of investment products with relatively low risk profiles. Theoretically, assets with a higher risk profile (such as those with lower credit ratings) or greater volatility (such as single market stocks) need to offer potentially greater returns than risk-free rates to attract investors.

3. How much yield do global government bonds offer?

The yields of global government bonds vary greatly due to a number of factors, including sovereign ratings, benchmark rates, and market demand. Not all sovereign bonds can maintain a positive yield. In several European nations, such as Germany, Switzerland, France, as well as Japan, the yields of government bonds with a maturity of five years or less are negative. On the contrary, the yields of Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) government bonds remain positive, with the yields of 10-year Indonesian and Indian government bonds surpassing 6%. 

1 Credit rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch have assigned the highest sovereign ratings of AAA and Aaa, respectively, to the US. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s has assigned its second highest rating of AA+ to the country. As of 30 November, 2021.


Manulife Investment Management is the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation. The information and/or analysis contained in this material have been compiled or derived from sources believed to be reliable at the time of writing but Manulife Investment Management does not make any representation as to their accuracy, correctness, usefulness or completeness and does not accept liability for any loss arising from the use hereof or the information and/or analysis contained herein. Neither Manulife Investment Management or its affiliates, nor any of their directors, officers or employees shall assume any liability or responsibility for any direct or indirect loss or damage or any other consequence of any person acting or not acting in reliance on the information contained herein.

This material was prepared solely for educational and informational purposes and does not constitute a recommendation, professional advice, an offer, solicitation or an invitation by or on behalf of Manulife Investment Management to any person to buy or sell any security. Nothing in this material constitutes financial, investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a representation that any investment or strategy is suitable or appropriate to your individual circumstances, or otherwise constitutes a personal recommendation to you. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Investment involves risk. In considering any investment, if you are in doubt on the action to be taken, you should consult professional advisers.

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  • Four essential keywords related to interest rates

    Central banks in some emerging and Asian markets have started to hike rates, but deposit rates may not necessarily move in tandem. This would gradually erode depositors’ purchasing power in an inflationary environment. To achieve potential returns that beat inflation, deposit-focused investors should base any investment decisions on their risk tolerance levels and wealth management objectives.

    Read more
  • Why demographic change requires a new set of cards

    Many Asian governments are considering incentives to encourage larger families. These evolving policies will be vitally important, as the region looks to sustain a fast-greying population.

    Read more
  • Tips to manage your budget

    Keeping an eye on income and spending is not easy. However, working to a budget can simplify matters. Once you have established a reliable system that tracks your money, you’ll find it easier to take control of your finances.

    Read more
See all
  • Four essential keywords related to interest rates

    Central banks in some emerging and Asian markets have started to hike rates, but deposit rates may not necessarily move in tandem. This would gradually erode depositors’ purchasing power in an inflationary environment. To achieve potential returns that beat inflation, deposit-focused investors should base any investment decisions on their risk tolerance levels and wealth management objectives.

    Read more
  • Why demographic change requires a new set of cards

    Many Asian governments are considering incentives to encourage larger families. These evolving policies will be vitally important, as the region looks to sustain a fast-greying population.

    Read more
  • Tips to manage your budget

    Keeping an eye on income and spending is not easy. However, working to a budget can simplify matters. Once you have established a reliable system that tracks your money, you’ll find it easier to take control of your finances.

    Read more
See all
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