Japanese insurer, Tokio Marine Holdings, to sell foreign bonds and reduce its exposure to foreign debt according to Bloomberg. The article suggests that this move could be interpreted as a warning signal for the broader market because it could indicate that other Japanese investors may follow suit, potentially causing a sell-off in global bond markets.
Japanese investors have historically been large buyers of foreign bonds, particularly U.S. Treasuries, due to Japan’s low-interest rates and a desire for yield. However, if Japanese investors like Tokio Marine Holdings begin to sell off foreign bonds, it could cause a drop in demand for those bonds and push up yields, which could have broader implications for the global economy.
This move by Tokio Marine Holdings is noteworthy in light of the fact that Japan is one of the largest holders of U.S. debt, with holdings of approximately $1.076 trillion as of 2022. However, as reported in a recent article by Visual Capitalist, China is actually the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, with holdings of approximately $0.867 trillion as of 2022. China has been gradually reducing its holdings of U.S. debt in recent years, but it is still a major player in the global bond market.
If the sell-off leads to a significant shift in global bond markets and increased volatility, the Fed may take steps to stabilize the market and mitigate the impact on the U.S. economy.
One tool the Fed has at its disposal is monetary policy, which includes interest rate adjustments and quantitative easing. The Fed could lower interest rates or increase the supply of money in the economy through quantitative easing to boost demand for U.S. Treasuries and stabilize the bond market.
The Fed’s intervention could lead to a decrease in bond yields, which could increase demand for stocks as investors look for higher returns. This could result in a bullish sentiment in the stock market, leading to a rise in stock prices.
As for cryptocurrencies, the Fed’s intervention could potentially result in increased demand for alternative assets such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Investors may see cryptocurrencies as a potential hedge against inflation and other economic risks, particularly if the Fed takes measures to increase the money supply.