For Indian junk bonds, it’s love in the time of Evergrande: Andy Mukherjee

(Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. This column first appeared in Bloomberg on October 8, 2021)

  • There are no takers in India for corporate notes with even a whiff of credit risk. But such is the fear among global investors around China’s overleveraged property developers that money can’t stop pouring into Indian high-yield dollar bonds. Domestic debt issuances by all except the top-rated borrowers have shrunk since the collapse of the IL&FS Group, a major infrastructure financier, in September 2018. Firms rated below AA have managed to garner just 382 billion rupees ($5.2 billion) this year, a far cry from their 2017 haul of 2.1 trillion rupees. The situation in the international market is the exact opposite. Junk-rated nonfinancial firms from India have scooped up a record $9 billion this year, almost three times the year-earlier period. JSW Steel Ltd. alone raised $1 billon last month. Tycoon Gautam Adani has pipped even historically trusted public-sector issuers, such as Power Finance Corp. and Export-Import Bank of India. Firms linked to Asia’s second-richest man have raised $9 billion in the past five years, more than any other Indian borrower.

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