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Credit Insights

Just as Volatility Starts to Subside, It Ratchets Right Back Up

There are reportedly over $15 trillion worth of bonds currently trading at a negative yield.

Just when it appeared that volatility had started to subside, it kicked back up again at the end of last week. Compared with the wide daily market swings over the past few weeks, for most of last week the markets were trading in a much narrower range and corporate credit spreads were tightening steadily. However, in response to an escalation in the trade dispute between the U.S. and China on Aug. 23, the stock market sold off substantially and corporate bond markets weakened.

On the morning of Aug. 23, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was going to retaliate against a new imposition of Chinese tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products imported into China. That action was, in itself, a retaliation against earlier tariffs ordered by the U.S. In this most recent escalation, the president is raising the tariffs on $250 billion of imported Chinese products to 30% from 25% and increasing the tariffs to 15% from 10% on $300 billion of Chinese imports that is scheduled to begin on Sept. 1.

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