Investing in bonds? Things you must know

Investing in bonds provides investors with security and consistent income streams. Understanding the principles of bond finance, especially treasury bonds, is crucial for people looking to diversify their investment portfolios and explore the bond market. Through this piece we hope to arm investors with the knowledge they need to make wise choices by explaining the complexities of bond investing and bond finance. We will examine the many categories of bonds, such as corporate and municipal bonds, and the effects of bond ratings, interest rate risk, and inflation risk on investing strategies.

How do bonds work?

Bonds are debt securities corporations, governments, and localities issued to raise money. By purchasing a bond, you essentially loan the issuer money in return for monthly interest payments, or “coupon payments,” known as interest. The bond’s principal, also known as the face value or par value, will be repaid by the issuer on the bond’s maturity date. Bonds are desirable for risk-averse investors since they are considered safer than equities.

Singapore’s treasury bond market

The Singapore government issues treasury bonds to finance public projects and control debt. Government securities, including treasury bonds, are issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS. Singapore government are often regarded as low-risk investments.

For instance, if you buy a 10-year Singapore Government Treasury Bond (SGS) with a face value of SGX 1,000 and an annual coupon rate of 3%, you’ll get SGX 30 in interest payments every year until maturity, and the government will give you your SGX 1,000 back after the 10 years.

Types of bonds

There are several different bond types, each with unique characteristics and risk profiles:

  • Corporate bonds

Bonds issued by corporations to raise money offer higher rates than governments, but they also carry a higher credit risk. Corporate bonds are frequently issued by large businesses in Singapore, including Singapore Airlines Limited, or SIA, and DBS Bank Limited.

  • Municipal bonds

Municipal bonds, which local governments or organisations issue, finance public projects like infrastructure development. Investors in these bonds benefit from tax advantages.

  • Zero-coupon bonds

These bonds are issued at a discount to their face value and mature at that amount rather than paying periodic interest. The investor’s return is calculated as the difference between the buying price and the face value.

  • Bonds with floating rates

These bonds have an interest rate that fluctuates regularly in response to changes in a reference rate, such as the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate, or SIBOR.

Bond ratings

Credit rating companies, including Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch, give bonds credit ratings. These ratings assist investors in determining the degree of risk involved with a particular bond by evaluating the creditworthiness of bond issuers. Bonds with higher ratings are considered safer investments, whereas bonds with lower ratings have a higher risk of default but higher yields.

Maturity of bonds

A bond’s maturity is the time it takes for the issuer to pay back the principal. Bond maturities can be short, medium, or long-term. Long-term bonds have maturities longer than 10 years, whereas short-term bonds mature in one to three years and medium-term bonds mature in three to 10 years.

Rate of interest risk

Interest rates are one important factor that affects bond prices. Existing bonds with lower coupon rates lose some of their appeal to investors as interest rates climb. Their market prices thus decrease to reflect the going rates. The market price of existing bonds with higher coupon rates rises when interest rates drop, on the other hand, due to increased demand.

Expeditionary risk

The danger that inflation will reduce the buying power of the bond’s future interest payments and principal sum is referred to as inflation risk. Bonds with set coupon rates are more prone to inflation risk because fixed costs lose buying power as prices rise.


Bond investments can be an excellent strategy to preserve capital in your portfolio while generating consistent income. Making wise investing decisions requires understanding bond finance and the distinctive characteristics of government and other bonds available in Singapore. You can create a well-balanced bond portfolio that matches your financial goals and risk tolerance by considering elements like bond ratings, interest rate risk, inflation risk, and diversification. Although they are typically less erratic than stocks, bonds carry some risk, so careful thought and expert counsel are needed before investing in the bond market.

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