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Government bonds

Issued by the Australian Government, government bonds make up the largest single pool of bonds in the market with a wide range available. Government bonds offer the potential for regular interest income and principal repayments at maturity

Exchange-traded Australian Government Bonds

The primary source of information about Exchange-traded Australian Government bonds are the Information Statements provided by the Australian Government which you should read in full before investing.

There are two different types of Exchange-traded Australian Government bonds:

  1. Exchange-traded Treasury Bonds (TBs)
  2. Exchange-traded Treasury Indexed Bonds (TIBs)

You can buy and sell exchange-traded Australian Government bonds on ASX the same way you buy and sell shares. You instruct your broker to place an order. Brokerage will be payable on the transaction. Settlement of the trade usually takes place two settlement business days after the transaction (T+2).

Your exchange-traded Australian Government bonds must be held in a CHESS account sponsored by your sponsoring broker. CHESS Holding Statements issued to you will record changes in your holdings of Australian Government bonds.

Holders of exchange-traded Australian Government bonds are generally paid regular coupon interest. This is based on the coupon rate of the bond and remains in effect for the life of the bond, even as its market price fluctuates.

Investors who hold exchange-traded Australian Government bonds at the close of business on the record date (eight calendar days prior to the interest payment date) will be entitled to the next interest payment. The settlement period between the record date and the payment date is known as the ex-interest period. Trades which settle during this period are not entitled to the next interest payment.

It is helpful to note important dates such as when Australian Government bonds go ex-interest, pay coupons and mature.

You must purchase an Australian Government bond at least two business days prior to the record date (including that day) to be eligible to receive the next coupon payment. At the beginning of trading two business days prior to the record date (including that day), the price of the bond will generally adjust downwards to reflect the fact that a purchaser of the bond is not entitled to the next coupon interest payment. This is similar to a share going ex-dividend. 

There are two ways that you can recoup some or all of your initial investment:

  1. Redemption at maturity: The Australian Government bond’s face value (adjusted in the case of an indexed bond) and final coupon can be paid into your bank account. Coupon payments and redemptions cannot be made by cheque.
  2. Selling the bond before it matures: You can sell your Australian Government bond in the same way that you sell shares. Depending on the current market price, you may receive more or less than the bond’s face value. ASX has appointed dedicated market makers to provide bid and ask prices. Note that the quoting of an exchange-traded Australian Government bond ceases five business days prior to the final record date, which in turn is eight calendar days prior to the maturity date. 

Quick Links

The primary source of information about Exchange-traded Australian Government bonds are the Information Statements provided by the Australian Government which you should read in full before investing.

Non-resident and non-Australian resident investors

Payments

The Australian Government’s preferred method of payment to all investors is by direct credit into an Australian dollar bank account with a financial institution in Australia. Australian, United States, Great Britain, New Zealand and Canadian resident investors must nominate a valid Australian bank account, otherwise payments will be withheld until such time as a valid account is provided. Payments to investors that reside outside these jurisdictions will be made by paper cheque where a valid account has not been provided. Investors are required to supply their payment instructions no later than the record date in order to receive their payment.

Taxation

Tax consequences of acquiring, holding and disposing of exchange-traded Australian Government bonds will vary depending on the particular circumstances of the holder. You should obtain your own independent taxation advice prior to investing.

Non-Australian resident investors

Coupon interest payments on exchange-traded Australian Government bonds may be eligible for an exemption from non-resident interest withholding tax. Please read the relevant Investor Information Statement for more information about withholding tax.

Helpful links

Benefit from exchange trading

Swap your Australian Government Securities for exchange-traded Australian Government bonds.

The Australian Government is offering investors the opportunity to voluntarily exchange their Australian Government Securities for Australian Government Bonds. The service related benefits include online access to your holdings, trading on ASX and real time market pricing by market makers.