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Bond Risk Decreases in Asia, Credit-Default Swap Prices Show

The cost of insuring corporate and sovereign bonds from non-payment decreased in Asia, according to traders of credit-default swaps.

The Markit iTraxx Asia index of 40 investment-grade borrowers outside Japan dropped 1.5 basis points to 163 basis points as of 8:29 a.m. in Hong Kong, Credit Agricole SA prices show. The gauge is on course for its lowest close since April 17, according to data provider CMA.

The Markit iTraxx Japan index fell 0.5 basis points to 178 as of 9:50 a.m. in Tokyo, Citigroup Inc. prices show. The benchmark is set for its first fall since April 19, according to CMA, which is owned by CME Group Inc. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market.

The Australian market is closed today for a public holiday.

Credit-default swap indexes are benchmarks for insuring bonds against default and traders use them to speculate on credit quality. A drop signals improving perceptions of creditworthiness, while an increase suggests the opposite.

The swap contracts pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities if a borrower fails to meet its debt agreements. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

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