CFA Level 1 - Fixed Income Investments
Spreads interact with economic growth or decline in two key ways:
1. Spreads narrow or tighten - When the economy is growing, cash flows are increasing. Therefore, a corporation should have an easier time paying off its debt. Individuals will purchase more non-treasury securities than treasury securities because the increased economic activity reduces the default risk, causing spreads to tighten.
2. Spreads widen - When economy is faltering or slowing down, spreads widen. When this happens, the possibility of defaults increases because cash flows are declining. Individuals will sell or dump non-treasury securities for government securities because there is less of a chance that the government will default on their debt when compared to a corporation. This is also known as a flight to safety.