Research Discussion Paper – December 2012
A History of Australian Corporate Bonds
Susan Black, Joshua Kirkwood, Alan Rai and Thomas Williams
This paper examines the development of Australian corporate bond issuance since the early 20th century, based on a new unit-record dataset that we have compiled. Issuance trends have changed significantly over the past century as bond markets have become more diverse, sophisticated and globally integrated.
A number of changes over the past century are discussed: (i) today, issuance is largely by private entities whereas it was dominated by government-owned corporations historically; (ii) the issuer base has shifted from being mostly non-financial corporations towards banks; (iii) a wide range of entities are now able to tap the bond market; (iv) Australian corporations now raise a large share of funds offshore; and (v) the investor base has shifted away from direct holdings by households towards indirect holdings through superannuation/managed funds and holdings by non-residents.
These developments have largely been due to: the evolution of the structure of the Australian economy; privatisations; and changes in the regulatory landscape, particularly the deregulation of the banking system in the 1980s, and the floating of the exchange rate and abolition of capital controls in 1983.