MarketAxess Research tracks a variety of market indicators to help its clients better understand credit market dynamics and investment trends. The charts on this page have been selected to collectively offer some history and context for credit market conditions. Data is updated daily, weekly or quarterly as appropriate.

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Net flow data in the chart above is updated daily. The chart indicates the overall direction of flows, while also breaking out the volume bought by investors, volume sold by investors and inter-dealer volumes.
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Corporate debt outstanding has climbed consistently over the past several years as investors have taken advantage of the low interest rate environment to raise capital. While corporate debt outstanding has grown to record levels, incoming regulations such as Basel III have placed increased pressure on dealer balance sheets and impacted their ability to make markets. Many investors have turned to electronic trading as they search for new sources of liquidity.
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According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, primary dealer corporate bond balance sheets have fallen over 70% from approximately $250 billion pre-crisis to approximately $57 billion today. Since April 2013, the Fed has provided more granular data for the composition of credit instruments being held by dealers. Going forward we have a much more detailed view of bond market composition and trends across various instruments.
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Turnover is defined as the total amount traded as a percentage of the amount outstanding for the bonds that traded. Turnover today has fallen below credit crisis lows and is an indicator of the liquidity challenges in the credit market. According to FINRA TRACE, secondary trading volumes in US high grade have remained essentially flat for the past four years, at approximately $3 trillion per year, as corporate debt outstanding has consistently grown resulting in a steady decline in turnover.
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The chart shows average trade size over time for both retail and institutional sized trades. Average institutional trade sizes i.e. >$100,000 in notional size, have been steadily declining as investors break their orders into smaller sizes to facilitate execution. The proportion of block trades as a percentage of the total market has declined from around 50% in 2008 to approximately 40% today.
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The chart shows the average dealer mark-up by side of the market i.e. whether the trade was a Bid (client trying to sell) or an Offer (a client wants to buy a bond). The dealer mark up on the bid side plus the offer side is equal to the total bid-ask spread for that bond.

As the chart shows, in 2008 and 2009 when dealers were reducing their balance sheets, the mark-up for bids was significantly higher than for offers because dealers were looking to reduce their corporate bond inventories and, by extension, their market exposure.
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This information is provided "AS IS." Although the data presented has been obtained or compiled from sources MarketAxess® believes to be reliable, MarketAxess® cannot and does not warrant, either expressly or impliedly, the accuracy, validity, timeliness or completeness of this information, or its suitability for any particular purpose.