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Asia-Pacific Bond Risk Increases, Credit-Default Swaps Show

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of insuring Asia-Pacific corporate and sovereign bonds against non-payment rose, according to traders of credit-default swaps.

The Markit iTraxx Asia index of 40 investment-grade borrowers outside Japan climbed three basis points to 114 basis points as of 8:12 a.m. in Hong Kong, Credit Agricole SA prices show. The gauge is set for the highest close since Nov. 28, according to data provider CMA.

The Markit iTraxx Australia index advanced two basis points to 120 as of 10:57 a.m. in Sydney, according to Westpac Banking Corp. prices. The benchmark is poised for the highest close since Jan. 1, according to CMA, which is owned by McGraw-Hill Cos. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market.

The Markit iTraxx Japan index climbed three to 137 as of 8:57 a.m. in Tokyo, according to Deutsche Bank AG prices. The measure is headed for the highest level in a week, CMA prices show.

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jun Yang in Hong Kong at jyang180@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net

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