Friday, February 11, 2011

HK to issue TIPS

News reports have suggested that the Hong Kong government will issue inflation indexed bonds.

If the issue actually happens it would be both welcome and unnecessary.

The ability to buy some HKD denominated bonds at better yields than retail investors can get in the secondary market would be welcome. Assuming that they are offered at a real yield in the 2-3 percent range, they would be an attractive addition to the private portfolio as I transition into retirement. The attraction lies not in the expected return (which would still be less than what I would expect on equities), but the the ability to reduce risk.

The unnecessary part is that the Hong Kong government has massive reserves, being a by-product of excess taxation, and has zero need for additional funds. The purported reason for the proposed issue is to enable Hong Kong investors to protect their assets from inflation. Given the reason for the issue, it has been suggested that only retail investors would be eligible to apply. Terms being considered are 3 and 5 years.

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