The European high-yield market is in the midst of a boom as bond issuance in the region surged in the past couple of years due to loosening bank lending practices. European debt issues are of slightly higher quality, coming in at a Ba2/Ba3 rating, compared to the B1/B2 rating for the U.S. index.
Additionally, while the U.S. junk bond market reeled in response to its large 15% exposure to the energy sector and sudden plunge in oil prices, less than 1% of high-yield European bonds are exposed to energy companies.
“A lot of investors are willing to bypass the lower liquidity of European markets in exchange for higher ratings and less exposure to oil prices,” Sabur Moini, a high-yield portfolio manager at Payden & Rygel, said in the FT article.
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Max Chen contributed to this article.