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A History of Australian Corporate Bonds


  • Susan Black

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Joshua Kirkwood

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Alan Rai

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Thomas Williams

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)


This paper examines the development of Australian corporate bond issuance since the early 20th century, based on a new unit-record dataset that we have compiled. Issuance trends have changed significantly over the past century as bond markets have become more diverse, sophisticated and globally integrated. A number of changes over the past century are discussed: (i) today, issuance is largely by private entities whereas it was dominated by government-owned corporations historically; (ii) the issuer base has shifted from being mostly non-financial corporations towards banks; (iii) a wide range of entities are now able to tap the bond market; (iv) Australian corporations now raise a large share of funds offshore; and (v) the investor base has shifted away from direct holdings by households towards indirect holdings through superannuation/managed funds and holdings by non-residents. These developments have largely been due to: the evolution of the structure of the Australian economy; privatisations; and changes in the regulatory landscape, particularly the deregulation of the banking system in the 1980s, and the floating of the exchange rate and abolition of capital controls in 1983.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Black & Joshua Kirkwood & Alan Rai & Thomas Williams, 2012. "A History of Australian Corporate Bonds," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2012-09, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2012-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Guy Debelle & Michael Plumb, 2006. "The Evolution of Exchange Rate Policy and Capital Controls in Australia," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 5(2), pages 7-29, Spring/Su.
    2. Ricardo Caballero & Kevin Cowan & Jonathan Kearns, 2005. "Fear of Sudden Stops: Lessons From Australia and Chile," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 313-354.
    3. Ric Battellino & Nola McMillan, 1989. "Changes in the Behaviour of Banks and Their Implications for Financial Aggregates," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp8904, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Carl Schwartz, 2010. "The Australian Government Guarantee Scheme," RBA Bulletin, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 19-26, March.
    5. Warren Tease, 1990. "The Balance of Payments in the 1980s," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9003, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    6. Susan Black & Joshua Kirkwood, 2010. "Ownership of Australian Equities and Corporate Bonds," RBA Bulletin, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 25-33, September.
    7. Merrett, David T. & Ville, Simon, 2009. "Financing Growth: New Issues by Australian Firms, 1920–1939," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(03), pages 563-589, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vu, Tram & Do, Viet & Skully, Michael, 2015. "Local versus foreign banks: A home market advantage in loan syndications," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 29-39.
    2. repec:bla:acctfi:v:57:y:2017:i:2:p:373-400 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Australia; bond market; history; regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • N27 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania

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