In an article for ETFStream, Theo Andrew discussed how bond market liquidity has improved in recent years due to increased electronic trading and fixed income ETFs. Bond ETFs have gone from $729 billion in assets under management to $1.7 trillion between 2017 and 2023. By the end of the decade, it’s projected to reach $5 trillion which would equate to 5% of the global bond market.
In some smaller markets, ETFs are accounting for an increasing share of trading volume. Institutions are increasingly getting comfortable with these instruments especially to manage credit risk. Trading in ETFs is also less costly than individual bonds.
Due to increasing liquidity, there is increased price transparency and tighter spreads. It also is enabling more portfolio trading, where asset managers can automate rebalancing and quickly implement changes in the portfolio.
Growth in portfolio trading and fixed income ETFs has been symbiotic as a deeper and richer fixed income ETF market makes portfolio trading more appealing. In turn, more allocations to portfolio trading inevitably boost inflows into fixed income ETFs.
Finsum: Fixed income ETFs are leading to an increase in bond market liquidity. In turn, this is leading to more adoption of portfolio trading.