Bond investors are already betting on a return to normal life
Sectors such as travel and real estate could suffer from “long-term structural shortages of demand,” prompting investors to demand higher compensation for owning them, said James Vokins, UK senior credit manager. Uni at Aviva Investors.
Last year, businesses around the world borrowed more than $ 430 billion in new loans and used at least $ 340 billion of existing lines of credit to deal with the pandemic. Some travel and leisure companies lined up new financing deals as late as January.
The potential reopening also strengthens the outlook for inflation, pushing government bond yields higher and reducing the total return of corporate bond indices. So far, investors have responded by abandoning interest rate risk while increasing credit exposure before economies return to normal.
Finding cheap bonds is becoming a necessity as spreads in the broader European investment grade bond market have struggled to tighten any further than pre-pandemic levels reached in late 2020.
In the UK, where the vaccination program is more advanced than in other major economies, the government has set June 21 as the earliest date for the end of all restrictions in England.
“There is still value in the sectors that suffered last year and we are positioned for their recovery,” said Serena Galestian, portfolio manager at Insight Investment in London, which oversees £ 753 billion (1 Trillion dollars). “Given the pace of vaccine rollout, at least in the US and UK, we can now see the path to normalcy.”