Sales of corporate bonds from the U.S. to Europe and Asia slumped to their lowest levels this year and borrowing costs soared to the most since February as a global slowdown curbed demand for all but the safest assets.
It took three decades for the amount of speculative-grade debt to reach $1 trillion. It took about seven years to reach $2 trillion as investors sought relief from the financial repression brought on by near-zero interest rates.
Returns this month on corporate bonds from the U.S. to Europe and Asia are exceeding those in the entire second quarter and offerings are poised for the busiest July in three years as investors show growing confidence in company finances.
Returns on inflation-linked bonds fell below those of government debt by the most in almost three years as the world economic slump makes it less likely that easy monetary policies will trigger spiraling consumer prices.
Too few “mud Marines” were slogging through bond prospectuses in the run-up to the European sovereign-debt crisis, according to Jack Malvey , former chief fixed-income strategist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.