Hoe gevaarlijk is de obligatiemarkt?

NEW HAVEN – De prijzen van lange termijn staatsobligaties zijn de laatste jaren sterk opgelopen (in de zin dat de rendementen zeer laag zijn geweest.) In de Verenigde Staten bereikte de winst op 30-jarige schatkistobligaties op 30 januari een diepterecord van 2,25% (sinds de Federal Reserve in 1972 met deze uitgiften begon.) De opbrengst van een 30-jarige staatsobligatie van het Verenigd Koninkrijk daalde op diezelfde dag tot 2,04%. De 20-jarige Japanse staatsobligatie bracht op 20 januari slechts 0,87% op.

Deze opbrengsten zijn sindsdien lichtelijk hoger geworden, maar ze blijven uitzonderlijk laag. Het lijkt raadselachtig – en onhoudbaar – dat mensen hun geld 20 of 30 jaar vastleggen om weinig of niets meer te verdienen dan de 2% die centrale banken als doelstelling voor de jaarlijkse inflatie aanhouden. Dus nu de obligatiemarkt rijp lijkt voor een drastische correctie, vragen velen zich af of een krach de markten voor andere lange-termijn activa, zoals huizen en aandelen, zou kunnen meeslepen.

Het is een vraag die mij herhaaldelijk gesteld wordt op seminars en conferenties. Deelnemers in de huizen- en aandelenmarkten stellen hun prijzen tenslotte terwijl ze naar de prijzen op de obligatiemarkt kijken, dus besmetting van de ene lange termijnmarkt naar de andere lijkt een reële mogelijkheid te zijn.

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