China's Junk Property Bonds Are Safer Than They Look

中国的垃圾地产债比他们看起来更安全

2019/05/16 16:11
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违约飙升的风险比亚洲投资级美元债的估值风险要小。

China’s surging bond defaults are making debt of the nation’s risky developers look like a buy.

中国飙升的债券违约使得房地产开发商的债务看起来值得买入。

Yes, you read that right. It may seem illogical, with China’s $13 trillion fixed-income market heading for its biggest year of missed payments by far. But a few defaults aren’t always a bad thing if they help to keep prices at rational levels.

是的,你没有看错。这可能看起来不合逻辑,中国13万亿美元的固定收益市场将步入最大的违约年度。但是,如果它们有助于将价格保持在理性水平,那么一些违约并不总是坏事。

Asian dollar bonds staged a record rally since the first quarter, in part because of the dovish turn by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The spread on the region’s investment-grade securities has narrowed to 130 basis points over Treasuries. It’s been tighter than that only 8% of the time in the past five years.

亚洲美元债券自第一季度以来创下历史新高,部分原因是美联储的温和转向。该地区投资级证券的利差已经缩小至130个基点以上,只比过去五年中8%的时间更紧。

Quality Play

质量游戏

Asia's investment-grade dollar bonds are on a record bull run. But high-yield securities have weakened since April

亚洲的投资级美元债券创下历史新高。但自4月份以来,高收益证券已经走弱

The spread on Asian junk bonds has also fallen, though not as much. That reflects jitters over Chinese property companies, which have come to dominate the market. In the first four months of the year, they sold a net $29 billion of debt, bringing the amount outstanding to $120 billion. Developers account for more than half of emerging Asia’s high-yield dollar bonds.

亚洲垃圾债券的利差也有所下降,但没有那么多。这反映了对中国房地产公司的担忧,这些公司已经占据了市场主导地位。在今年的前四个月,他们出售了290亿美元的债务,使未偿还的金额达到了1200亿美元。开发商占新兴亚洲高收益美元债券的一半以上。

All parties end, and Asia’s investment-grade market is no exception. Sooner or later, the U.S.-China trade conflict will start to bite. Global economic growth will slow and the greenback will get stronger: Both factors will erode emerging Asia’s ability to honor its dollar debt.

亚洲的投资级市场也不例外。全球经济增长将放缓,美元将走强:这两个因素都将削弱新兴亚洲兑美元债务的能力。

Meanwhile, there’s interest-rate risk. Are Asia’s bond traders prepared for the doomsday scenario in which the benchmark Treasury yield jumps to 4% or 5%? A key auction last week didn’t end well: The bid-to-cover ratio on the $27 billion sale of 10-year securities was the lowest since March 2009.

同时,存在利率风险。亚洲的债券交易商是否为基准美国国债收益率跃升至4%或5%的情景做好了准备?上周的美债拍卖结果并不理想:270亿美元的10年期国债出售的买入比率是自2009年3月以来的最低值。

With spreads already so low, the potential for capital gains has diminished. What investors can still hope for is yield, and that’s what China’s junk-rated developers can offer. New issues have offered an 8.6 percent coupon on average this year, on notes that have an average maturity of three years.

由于利差已经很低,资本收益的可能性已经减弱。投资者仍然可以期待的是收益率,而这正是中国垃圾级开发商所能提供的。今年新发行的票息平均为8.6%,期限平均为三年。

If nothing else, traders can hold until maturity and hope to collect the coupon without much drama (or interest-rate risk). Investment-grade securities don’t have this buffer.

如果不出意外,交易者可以持有到期,并希望收到票息而不会产生太多利率风险。投资级证券没有这种缓冲。

Granted, high-yield bonds have a greater likelihood of default. However, there’s reason to believe that the concern over Chinese issuers may be overstated, at least in the offshore market. Any developer that wants to survive for the foreseeable future will try its best to honor its dollar obligations. That’s because the onshore market is largely closed to them.

诚然,高收益债券违约的可能性更大。然而,有理由相信对中国发行人的担忧可能被夸大,至少在离岸市场上如此。任何希望在可预见的未来生存的开发商都会尽力履行其美元义务。

Real-estate companies would ditch the dollar market at the drop of a hat and return to local-currency financing, if regulators would only let them. The cost of borrowing onshore is much lower. Case in point: China Evergrande Group recently issued a four-year yuan bond at a 6.27% coupon rate; it paid 10% to borrow in dollars last month.

如果监管机构只让他们回归在岸市场,那么房地产公司就会放弃美元市场并回归本币融资。在岸借款的成本要低得多。例如:中国恒大集团最近以6.27%的票面利率发行了四年期人民币债券;它上个月以10%的利率借入美元。

Two Views

两种观点

Of 53 real estate developers graded by international rating companies, 75 percent are assessed as junk. Domestic rating firms consider them all investment grade

在53家被国际评级公司评级的房地产开发商中,有75%被评为垃圾级别。国内评级公司认为它们都是投资级别

Three-quarters of Chinese property companies covered by international rating companies are considered junk, according to HSBC Holdings Plc. Every single one is rated AAA by domestic agencies in the onshore market.

根据汇丰控股有限公司(HSBC Holdings Plc)的数据,四分之三被国际评级公司覆盖的中国房地产公司被视为垃圾。每一个都被国内代理商在境内市场评为AAA级。

To be sure, not all developers are created equal. China Minsheng Investment Group Corp., which defaulted after amassing 232 billion yuan ($34 billion) of debt in just five years, was young and reckless when it was courting overseas investors in 2016. Look for companies with a long track record of dollar bond issues.

可以肯定的是,并非所有开发商都是平等的。中国民生投资集团有限公司在短短5年时间内违约了2320亿元人民币(340亿美元)的债务,在2016年向海外投资者求助时,他们年轻而鲁莽。投资者需要寻找具有长期美元债券发行记录的公司。

High-yield comes with risk, but even investment-grade isn’t immune. Hong Kong-based export trader Li & Fung Ltd. was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service last year as revenue dropped amid the trade tensions.

高收益伴随着风险,但即使是投资级也无法幸免。香港出口贸易商利丰(Li&Fung Ltd.)去年被穆迪投资者服务公司(Moody's Investors Service)降级为垃圾,因为贸易紧张局势导致收入下降。

Sometimes, the safer investments hide in the most dangerous places.

有时,更安全的投资隐藏在最危险的地方。

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