The Swiss bond market has three main characterizing features. Firstly, its growth rate is among the lowest internationally. The volume of outstanding bonds worldwide is rising steadily and sharply. Bond markets are showing especially strong momentum in some emerging economies such as China and India. The total capitalization of the Swiss market at the end of 2010 was over CHF 570 billion. This equates to 115% of gross domestic product (GDP) and is thus in line with the average for bond markets in developed economies.
Secondly, in contrast to many other developed economies, the market for non-public borrowers in Switzerland is much bigger than the public capital market. The volume of outstanding Confederation bonds relative to the overall economy has fallen continually over the past five years. This reflects the circumspect financial policies of the federal, cantonal and local authorities.
Thirdly, foreign issuers account for a greater share of the market than their Swiss counterparts. Most other bond markets are dominated by domestic paper. The market capitalization of foreign borrowers has exceeded that of domestic issuers for years.
Furthermore, the vast majority of CHF bonds are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange, whereas most trading in other countries is conducted over the counter. Switzerland’s bond market also stands out thanks to the above-average credit ratings of its borrowers.
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