19 October 2023
The chart below illustrates the current opportunity on offer in bonds for the South African investor.
It shows the progression of 5-year inflation expectations in South Africa vs. the yield on the JSE All Bond Index. While the yield on SA bonds has steadily increased over the past decade, long-term inflation expectations have decreased. Considering that the duration of the ALBI index is below 6 years, there is a strong case for sustainable real returns over inflation over the next 5 years.
Source: South African Reserve Bank, Bloomberg
Should these inflation expectations be realised over the medium term, an investment in the All-Bond Index is offering a real return above inflation of around 7%.
There are many reasons for the increase in the yields of local bonds. Yields in developed nations have risen, offering an opportunity cost for offshore investors who may consider South African local currency debt as well as for domestic investors who may think that the Rand will continue to weaken.
SA’s fiscal outlook continues to deteriorate as load shedding and poor performance at Transnet hamper economic growth and tax revenue. But for a Rand-based investor who believes that it is unlikely that the country will default on its local currency debt and thinks domestic inflation will remain anchored, investment in the ALBI with a duration of under 6 years and a yield of about 12% is a very compelling investment return.
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