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Bond Risk Increases in Japan, Credit-Default Swap Prices Show

The cost of insuring corporate bonds in Japan against non-payment rose, according to traders of credit-default swaps.

The Markit iTraxx Japan index climbed one basis point to 126 basis points as of 9:09 a.m. in Tokyo, according to Citigroup Inc. prices. The measure is on track to fall by nine basis points since Jan. 31, according to data provider CMA.

The Markit iTraxx Asia index of 40 investment-grade borrowers outside Japan was little changed at 115 basis points as of 8:21 a.m. in Hong Kong, Standard Chartered Plc prices show. The gauge is headed for its lowest close this week, according to CMA, which is owned by McGraw-Hill Cos. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the private market.

The Markit iTraxx Australia index was also little changed at 120 basis points as of 11:09 a.m. in Sydney, Westpac Banking Corp. prices show. The benchmark, which started the year at 127.5, has fallen for five straight months to January, according to CMA.

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.

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