Thailand joins Asean Trading Link

As scheduled, Thailand joined Singapore and Malaysia on the Asean Trading Link last week. Going by news coverage and a couple of conversations I’ve had, Thai investors and brokers seem to be more enthusiastic about the project than anybody else.

That’s understandable – the historical ties between Malaysia and Singapore mean that anybody from one country who was keen to invest in the other could do so fairly easily and at reasonably low cost. But while there areĀ  brokers in Thailand who can already access other Asian markets, the link promises to make it a bit easier and cheaper for local investors there to invest in neighbouring countries – and, going the other way, also hopefully increase interest from foreign investors in Thai stocks.


A 25-Year March to (Sovereign) Junk?

Alea posted a striking table on the changing creditworthiness of sovereign bonds from the recent Moody’s report Sovereign Default and Recovery Rates, 1983-2010 [PDF, not because the site demands you register]. Over the last ~25 years, the number of sovereigns rated below investment grade has gone from zero to two-fifths of the total.

It reminded me of a Standard & Poor’s report from a few years ago, A 25-Year March to Junk, which found US corporate bonds going from 28% non-investment grade in 1992 to 49% non-investment grade in 49%. So at first glance, it looks like sovereign creditworthiness has deteriorated even further.