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There’s a reason they’re ‘frontier’ bonds

Jeremy Hobson Nov 20, 2009
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There’s a reason they’re ‘frontier’ bonds

Jeremy Hobson Nov 20, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: If the financial crisis and the recession are the sickness, and the medicine is low interest rates and a flood of cash into the market, then what are the medicine’s side effects? Well, one of them is starting to pop up in what are called frontier markets — from Vietnam to Belarus. Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson has that.


Jeremy Hobson: Bond investors are awash in dollars. One told me it was time to pass the snorkel. What to do with all that money? Forget Uncle Sam — his bonds aren’t paying much of a return these days.

Saleh Daher is managing director of the Turan Corporation. He says the best interest rates come from countries you need a passport, and maybe a couple of shots, to get to.

Saleh Daher: There is a tremendous appetite for return all around the world. Even faraway places like Nigeria and Angola.

He says so-called frontier bonds can pay as much as much as 8 percent more interest than U.S. treasuries. And if you have a taste for adventure, some upcoming issues include bonds in Vietnam, Belarus and Iran.

But remember, there’s a reason they’re called frontier:

Daher: If times are good, maybe they’ll get paid. If times are bad, they may not see their money ever again. This is the problem.

Daher says investors should beware: As soon as Washington starts raising interest rates, the frontier gold rush could lose a bit of its shine.

In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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