debt funds

Quarterly review – Changes to recommendations in Prime Funds and Prime ETFs

Prime Funds is our list of recommendations in equity, debt, and hybrid mutual funds that are worth investing in. Prime Funds narrows down your choices from the thousands of funds that there are, into a concise list of funds that span different styles. Prime Funds are selected based on performance, portfolios, and investment strategies.

In this quarter’s review, we have made limited additions to our list of Prime Funds but have some updates to give on performance of the existing funds. We also suggest buckets that are worth entering now. So do read it!

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Low returns from debt funds? Know how to manage this risk!

Low returns from debt funds? Know how to manage this risk!
After Silicon Valley Bank revealed large losses on its US bond portfolio that had eaten into its capital, there’s been a lot of social media outrage. Some folks are shocked that banks can make losses on a cast-iron investment such as US treasuries. Others seem to be appalled that Silicon Valley Bank is not alone and that many other global banks are in the same boat. This shows that investors at large have only a vague understanding of what rising interest rates do to bond portfolios.
You have also been bombarding us with questions on how interest rate risks can play out for debt funds, particularly target maturity, constant maturity and gilt funds. We try to address them here.

NFO review: IDFC US Treasury Bond 0-1 year Fund of Funds

US stocks and US equity funds have been quite a hit with Indian investors in recent years. Indians invest in these funds to gain exposure to global businesses (Amazon, Alphabet, Mastercard etc). More importantly, they would like to gain an exposure to the US dollar which has appreciated steadily against the Rupee over the years.
But the risks in owning US equities have become apparent lately, with the Fed on a rate hiking spree and the US economy flirting with a recession. US stock indices have lost 12-15% in one year, while US equity funds have seen losses of 6%-12%. But there has been a sharp rise in yields on US government bonds (treasuries).

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FAQs: What does the recent rate hike mean for your debt funds?

We bet you must be tired of hearing about rate hikes and debt funds and strategies! But if your queries, comments and activity on our newly-launched PrimeInvestor Community are any indications, there are still several questions many of you have over your funds.

So, here’s collecting them all and explaining what you should be doing with your debt funds and if you need to do anything different in light of the latest round of rate hikes.

Prime Debt outlook 2023: Handling a rate pause

After bungee jumping off a cliff, it is good to wait for the adrenaline rush to wear off. Indian bond markets are in exactly this situation now. After falling sharply as rates rose, bond prices are pausing to take a breath. In our debt outlook last year we expected rates to continue their upward climb and recommended strategies to play this. During the course of 2023, we think interest rates could top out and stabilise. We tell you what this will mean for your debt portfolio.

Debt fund strategies for the current rate scenario

The Reserve Bank’s monetary policy on Wednesday served up another repo rate hike of 35 basis points, adding to the 190 basis points through this year. That takes the repo rate to 6.25% from the Covid low of 4%. The key driving factor behind the rapid rate hikes – that of inflation – still remains. The RBI has clearly spelt its commitment to bringing inflation within the target range, even in its latest monetary policy.
In this light, debt fund strategies you have now, to make the most of the current scenario, can be decided based on what you want:

Have short term money to park? Here’s a cast iron option

Lately, it is not just India’s stock market that has been hopping all over the place like an impatient child. The bond market has been doing it too! India’s 10-year government bond yield, which sets the benchmark for all other debt instruments, climbed vertically from 5.8% in July 2020 to 7.61% in June 2022. But after that, it has been unable to make up its mind on whether to climb higher or pause for breath. 

Corporate bond funds, gilt funds and credit risk funds – which to own and when?

When it comes to building long-term portfolios with debt, many of you are confused about which funds to use. Should it be corporate bond funds or gilt funds or credit risk funds? To choose these or a combination of these, you need to first know the difference in the characteristics of these fund categories. 

How are deposits, bonds and debt funds taxed?

Deposits, bonds and debt funds are great ways to diversify one’s portfolio. But the taxation on these instruments can decide whether an option is attractive or unattractive on a post-tax basis. Taxation, though varies across instruments and can be quite complex. The fact that not all debt instruments are taxed in the same way compounds the decision making dilemma on which option to choose. This write-up will break down the taxation aspect of popular debt instruments for resident individuals.

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