"The total net asset value of the so-called double-decker funds -- designed to first invest in high-yielding assets like junk bonds and then buy into currencies to further increase returns -- rose 7.9 percent to 9.63 trillion yen ($106.4 billion) last month from November, the steepest increase since February, according to data compiled by Thomson-Reuters unit Lipper. Created in 2009, the products now account for more than 15 percent of the world’s eighth-largest mutual-fund market. The Brazilian real was among the 10 best-performing currencies against the yen last month, gaining 9.5 percent as the central bank intervened to stem the currency’s decline against the U.S. dollar. Products tied to the real accounted for 46 percent of double-decker fund assets last month, as Japanese individuals looked to beat the country’s low interest rates by looking overseas for higher-return investments. The gain in the real helped boost demand for the funds, Shoko Shinoda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Lipper, said by phone. Net sales jumped 31 percent in December from the previous month, according to the research company’s data." - source Bloomberg
The surge in the Brazilian Real versus the US Dollar, with the Japanese investors once again playing their favorite high-yielding currency - source Bloomberg:
From the same Bloomberg article:
"Double-decker products use non-deliverable forward contracts for foreign exchange to leverage returns and pay monthly dividends, catering to Japanese individual investors who want a regular income, such as retirees. The real has been preferred by Japanese funds to other emerging-market currencies because it’s more actively traded in the global foreign-exchange market, Shinoda said. Nomura Asset Management Co.’s real-linked “U.S. High Yield Bond Fund,” is a double-decker fund investing in U.S. dollar- denominated industrial bonds. Its net asset value increased 6.8 percent in December, after falling 1.4 percent a month earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Total returns on the fund were 21.8 percent in 2012, compared with a 5.4 percent loss the previous year, the data show. The real’s drop over the past two years, amid a series of interest-rate cuts in Brazil, and subsequent fluctuations in returns on double-decker funds, have prompted Japan’s financial regulator to require more disclosure about the products’ risks, making sales more difficult, said Sadayuki Horie, a Tokyo-based researcher at Nomura Research Institute." - source Bloomberg
At the same time Brazilian companies have sold the most junk bond on recort since May 2011 last Month according to Boris Korby from Bloomberg in his article - Junk Bond Frenzy Poised to Spill Into February: Brazil Credit from the 1st of February:
"Brazilian companies led by Banco do Brasil SA sold the most junk debt since May 2011 last month as unprecedented global demand for high-risk securities enabled the neediest borrowers to chop their financing costs. State-owned Banco do Brasil sold $2 billion of junior subordinated perpetual bonds rated BB by Standard &Poor’s in the nation’s second-largest high-yield sale on record, pacing $4.25 billion of speculative-grade offerings in January. Junk- bond issuance accounted for 81 percent of Brazil’s corporate debt sales, versus 34 percent globally and 18 percent in the country last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
With U.S. Treasury yields touching a nine-month high, debt investors are turning to the riskiest emerging-market bonds as they face diminishing returns on their safest holdings. That’s allowed junk-rated companies in developing nations to cut their borrowing costs to a record 6.56 percent last month." - source Bloomberg
According to Bloomberg, the amount of Brazilian junk bonds sold was second only to China among emerging markets last month. High-yield issuance in China reached at least $5.3 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The heat is on...
"The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling." - Ambrose Bierce