With real rates trading below zero right now, many yield-starved investors are being forced into riskier and riskier assets, including high-yield junk bonds. But even these are no longer offering a positive real return, what with inflation at multiyear highs.
According to one estimate, by Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid, a whopping 85% of the U.S. high-yield bond market currently yields below the annual inflation rate. It’s important to note that this figure has never been above 10% in the past. Even if the consumer price index (CPI) were to fall to 3% (from 5.4% currently), that would still be above 35% of the high-yield market.
And it’s not just the U.S. For the first time ever, inflation-adjusted yields on European junk-rated debt have turned negative after consumer prices increased the most in over a decade in Europe.
Stock prices have gained significantly so far this year, which is good, but this has had the effect of making the dividend yield look less appealing. As of last Friday, the S&P 500 dividend yield was 1.32%, the lowest point since March 2002, and well below the annual inflation rate.
So, where’s the yield? Some investors had hoped to try their hand at crypto lending, but the future legality of this activity is now in the air.
Coinbase’s Crypto Lending Program Halted by Regulators
Before I proceed, it’s important to note that crypto lending isn’t entirely new. Similar to securities lending, it allows investors to earn interest on select crypto holdings. Some online platforms have already been letting customers lend out their assets in exchange for income.
But not Coinbase, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, which has been hoping to launch its own crypto lending platform for months.
That’s because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the company that if it takes the next step in launching the service, nicknamed Lend, the SEC will sue. Making matters worse, the SEC refuses to explain what law Coinbase is in danger of violating; nor will it give guidance on how Coinbase can launch Lend and still comply with federal securities law. That’s according to Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal, who detailed the company’s legal struggles last week in a blog post.
All Coinbase knows at this point, Grewal writes, is that it can “either keep Lend off the market indefinitely without knowing why or we can be sued.” He adds that regulatory uncertainty and ambiguity “only serve to unnecessarily stifle new products that customers want and that Coinbase and others can safely deliver.”
Indeed, investors are starving for yield right now, and it appears some will remain so.
As I’ve said before, commonsense regulations are important to help maintain a safe, level playing field for all parties. Imagine a basketball game with no referees. Cheating would have no repercussions. Now imagine the same game, but with too many referees, and with the rules changing arbitrarily. Unfortunately, that’s the scenario Coinbase finds itself in right now.
Originally Posted on September 13, 2021 – Where’s the Yield? Don’t Look to Crypto Lending, at Least Not Yet
Please note: The Frank Talk articles listed contain historical material. The data provided was current at the time of publication. For current information regarding any of the funds mentioned in these presentations, please visit the appropriate fund performance page.
All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.
The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The Bloomberg Pan-European High Yield Index measures the market of non-investment grade, fixed-rate corporate bonds denominated in the following currencies: euro, pounds sterling, Danish krone, Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, and Swiss franc. Inclusion is based on the currency of issue, and not the domicile of the issuer. The consumer price index (CPI) is an index of the variation in prices paid by typical consumers for retail goods and other items. The harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP), used primarily within the European Union, is a measure of prices paid by consumers for a market basket of goods and services. It is calculated using the same methodology across countries to allow for comparable measures of inflation. The yearly (or monthly) growth rates represent the inflation rate. The dividend yield, expressed as a percentage, is a financial ratio (dividend/price) that shows how much a company pays out in dividends each year relative to its stock price.
Disclosure: US Global Investors
All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Holdings may change daily.
Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.
About U.S. Global Investors, Inc. – U.S. Global Investors, Inc. is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). This does not mean that we are sponsored, recommended, or approved by the SEC, or that our abilities or qualifications in any respect have been passed upon by the SEC or any officer of the SEC.
This commentary should not be considered a solicitation or offering of any investment product.
Certain materials in this commentary may contain dated information. The information provided was current at the time of publication.
Some links above may be directed to third-party websites. U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by these websites and is not responsible for their content.
Please consider carefully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by clicking here or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Foreside Fund Services, LLC, Distributor. U.S. Global Investors is the investment adviser.
Disclosure: Interactive Brokers
Information posted on IBKR Traders’ Insight that is provided by third-parties and not by Interactive Brokers does NOT constitute a recommendation by Interactive Brokers that you should contract for the services of that third party. Third-party participants who contribute to IBKR Traders’ Insight are independent of Interactive Brokers and Interactive Brokers does not make any representations or warranties concerning the services offered, their past or future performance, or the accuracy of the information provided by the third party. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
This material is from US Global Investors and is being posted with permission from US Global Investors. The views expressed in this material are solely those of the author and/or US Global Investors and IBKR is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the material. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
In accordance with EU regulation: The statements in this document shall not be considered as an objective or independent explanation of the matters. Please note that this document (a) has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research, and (b) is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination or publication of investment research.
There is a substantial risk of loss in foreign exchange trading. The settlement date of foreign exchange trades can vary due to time zone differences and bank holidays. When trading across foreign exchange markets, this may necessitate borrowing funds to settle foreign exchange trades. The interest rate on borrowed funds must be considered when computing the cost of trades across multiple markets.
Disclosure: Bitcoin Futures
Trading in Bitcoin futures is especially risky and is only for clients with a high risk tolerance and the financial ability to sustain losses. More information about the risk of trading bitcoin products can be found on the IBKR website. If you’re new to bitcoin, or futures in general please visit CME Bitcoin Futures.
PLEASE NOTE AT THIS TIME INTERACTIVE BROKERS PROVIDES LIMITED ACCESS TO CRYPTO-RELATED PRODUCTS. ELIGIBILITY TO TRADE IN CRYPTO-RELATED PRODUCTS MAY VARY BASED ON JURISIDICTION. TRADING IN CRYPTO-RELATED PRODUCTS IS ESPECIALLY RISKY AND IS ONLY FOR CLIENTS WITH A HIGH RISK TOLERANCE AND THE FINANCIAL ABILITY TO SUSTAIN LOSSES.