Neuberger Berman launches Asian hard currency bond fund

Asian currenciesNeuberger Berman has launched an Asian-focused fixed income Ucits fund that invests in hard currency securities.

The firms says that the Asian Debt Hard Currency Fund provides investors access to some of the world’s “fastest growing and deepening” fixed income asset classes, and it can invest in government and related debt, and corporate bonds. The fund also invests across the investment grade and high yield spectrum.

Prashant Singh, senior portfolio manager (Asia) in Neuberger Berman’s emerging market debt team, says: “Asia is the deepest and most liquid of the emerging debt capital markets, partly as a result of the concerted efforts of the authorities to bolster themselves against a repeat of the financial crises of the late 1990s.”

He says trading volumes and bid-ask spreads on government bonds have improved consistently over the last decade, and are in some cases even better than in some developed markets when adjusted for market capitalisation.

“Thirty-year government issues are now common for the region. Thailand offered a 50-year bond in 2011, and inflation-linked bonds, bond futures, and interest rate derivatives are also now well-established.”

He also says that since 2008, growth of corporate bond markets has outpaced that of government bonds by nearly three times, and he anticipates local-currency corporates to be the fastest-growing sector in emerging Asia debt for the foreseeable future.

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