Bonds involve investors loaning their money to an organisation (i.e. a government or a company), and receiving fixed interest payments over a set amount of time. They are traditionally seen as a safe investment, and a key part of a diversified portfolio.
Bonds have always been a popular investment for British investors, for while their value can fluctuate according to factors such as interest rates and inflation, they provide investors with a regular income.
At MoneyWeek, we'll keep you up to date with what's going on in the bond markets – and whether or not it's a good time to buy them.
It's easy to become confused about bonds – the term covers a wide range of financial products. Here, Ed Bowsher explains the main types of bond.
In this video, Ed takes a look at UK government bonds – how they work, why they are important, and whether you should invest in them.
MoneyWeek bond watch
Government bond yields around the world started climbing again in Autumn 2010. This showed investors getting more jittery about a toxic mix of soaring state borrowings and rising inflation, and so demanding bigger returns as compensation.
Global ten-year sovereign bond yields
America's ten-year bond yield is arguably the world's most important market indicator: it sets the cost of global long-term borrowing. As with other government bond yields, it falls (prices rise) when economic growth and inflation decline, because the fixed income stream paid by sovereign debt becomes more valuable. Quantitative easing (central bank bond-buying) has lowered yields further.
But in mid-2012, yields bottomed, except in Japan where they've since followed suit. Economic growth is now reappearing, while inflation and state debt concerns are still present. A global bear market in bonds now looks a real possibility, led by US Treasuries. That would make borrowing more expensive everywhere.
Eurozone ten-year sovereign bond yields
On the edge of the eurozone, rising default fears have been sending peripheral countries' sovereign debt yields soaring. The rough line in the sand so far is 7% - when yields breach that, it looks like the point of no return.
How will this play out? Watch this page to keep a close eye on those yields - they're a great early warning indicator of trouble ahead.
Spanish and Italian three-year sovereign bond yields
Here's the chart of Spanish and Italian three-year bonds. As investors' fears about these countries' finances grew, yields spiked up sharply.
Bonds: the MoneyWeek view
February 2015: The biggest bubble of all Bonds just keep rising in price – some yields are now negative. European bonds have been particularly in demand; the main driver seems to be anticipation of European QE. The bubble in corporate debt continues too.
• See our view on all the major asset classes here.
The threat of Greece leaving the eurozone has investors feeling jittery. But it’s far from the only big risk out there. John Stepek looks at the top five.
Investors are buying government bonds that are guaranteed money-losers. Are they mad? Or is something else going on? John Stepek investigates.
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Bond yields across much of the developed world have tumbled below zero as prices have climbed ever higher.
Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s dealt a blow to the Kremlin by downgrading Russian bonds.
Pensioner bonds are a terrible idea, says Bengt Saelensminde – and morally wrong to boot. Here’s a much better idea for George Osborne to consider.
The ‘chart of the decade’ shows one thing, says Bengt Saelensminde: more often than not, experts get it wrong. So here’s what to do about it.
Investment guru Jeffrey Gundlach has a novel take on where US Treasury yields are heading in 2015.
Asset allocation is at least as important as individual share selection. So where should you be putting your money? Here’s January’s take on the major asset classes.
German bond yields may have turned negative. But the real news is that investors could get paid back in a totally different currency to the one they bought in.
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