Bond Risk in Australia Rises, Credit-Default Swap Prices Show

The cost of insuring corporate bonds from non-payment in Australia increased, according to traders of credit-default swaps.

The Markit iTraxx Australia index rose 0.5 basis point to 113.5 basis points as of 11:34 a.m. in Sydney, according to Westpac Banking Corp. prices. The gauge has fallen 14 basis points since Dec. 31, extending a 53 basis-point drop in 2012, CMA data show.

The Markit iTraxx Asia index of 40 investment-grade borrowers outside Japan was unchanged at 106 as of 8:50 a.m. in Hong Kong, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc prices show. The measure has declined 7.4 basis points this year, after sliding 93 basis points in 2012, according to data provider CMA.

Markets in Japan are 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.

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson

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