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Credit investing glossary

Credit spread

The credit spread is the difference in yield between bonds of a similar maturity but with different credit quality. Spread is measured in basis points.

Typically, it is calculated as the difference between the yield on a corporate bond and the benchmark rate. The yield on a government bond generally is considered to be a benchmark rate. The credit spread thus gives an indication of the additional risk that lenders take when they buy corporate debt versus government debt of the same maturity.

Consistently at the forefront of credit management
Consistently at the forefront of credit management
Credit investing
Changes in the spread indicate that perceptions of the risk of a specific issuer has changed or that perceptions of general market conditions have changed. For example, if the market becomes more skeptical about the creditworthiness of an issuing company, the spread of that company’s bonds widens (its yield relative to the benchmark widens). Or, if markets become more negative and risk-averse, spreads in general tend to widen. Similarly, if sentiment towards an issuer or a market improves, the relevant spreads would decrease.
Fixed income outlook: The Covid shock and the Baa recovery
Fixed income outlook: The Covid shock and the Baa recovery
Fixed income opportunities are shifting swiftly away from safe-haven government bonds towards credit.
01-04-2020 | Quarterly outlook
Credit outlook: ‘The common enemy’ – video
Credit outlook: ‘The common enemy’ – video
Only three times since the 1930s have credit spreads been at current or better levels.
26-03-2020 | Video
Credit outlook: 'The common enemy'
Credit outlook: 'The common enemy'
Spreads have moved from historically narrow levels straight to recessionary wides.
24-03-2020 | Quarterly outlook