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Vol up, rates rising: for convertible bonds, what’s not to like?

Despite stock volatility rising from recent lows, and the interest rate picture changing as central banks tackle inflation, convertible bond issuance in 2022 has been very slow. What needs to happen for that to change?

Photo: iStock

One curiously dormant asset class so far this year has been convertible bonds. The second quarter of 2020, when companies rushed to market to raise funds in whatever form they could, saw bumper volumes of nearly $65 billion globally. The first quarter of 2021 was another spike, with more than $55 billion raised.

Quarterly volumes over the past three years have otherwise trended around $20 billion to $25 billion. But even against that backdrop, the start of 2022 has been poor. As of late March, volumes had reached only about $6 billion – and some $1.5

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