How to Calculate Yield to Maturity of a Zero-Coupon Bond

Yield to maturity (YTM) is a crucial metric utilized in bond markets that describes the full fee of return that’s anticipated from a bond as soon as it has made all of its future curiosity funds and repays the unique principal quantity. Zero-coupon bonds (z-bonds), nevertheless, shouldn’t have reoccurring curiosity funds, which distinguishes YTM calculations from bonds with a coupon fee.

Since z-bonds are a standard kind of debt issuance by sure organizations, together with some U.S. Treasury securities, yield to maturity is a crucial consideration. As a substitute of paying coupons, z-bonds are sometimes issued at a reduction out there after which mature to their face worth. Right here, we have a look at find out how to estimate the YTM of a bond that doesn’t pay common curiosity.

Key Takeaways

  • Yield to maturity (YTM) tells bonds traders what their whole return could be in the event that they held the bond till maturity.
  • YTM takes under consideration the common coupon funds made plus the return of principal.
  • Zero-coupon bonds don’t pay curiosity at common intervals.
  • As a substitute, z-bonds are issued at a reduction and mature to their face worth.
  • Consequently, YTM calculations for zero-coupon bonds differ from conventional bonds.

How Do I Calculate Yield To Maturity Of A Zero Coupon Bond?

Zero-Coupon Bond Method

The components for calculating the yield to maturity on a zero-coupon bond is:

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Yield To Maturity



Face Worth

Present Bond Worth




Years to Maturity



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Yield To Maturity=(Present Bond WorthFace Worth)(Years to Maturity1)1

Zero-Coupon Bond YTM Instance

Contemplate a $1,000 zero-coupon bond that has two years till maturity. The bond is presently valued at $925, the worth at which it might be bought at present. The components would look as follows:













When solved, this equation produces a worth of 0.03975, which might be rounded and listed as a yield of three.98%.

Time worth of cash (TVM) formulation normally require rate of interest figures for every time limit in an effort to low cost future money flows to their current worth. This really makes YTM simpler to calculate for zero-coupon bonds. There aren’t any coupon funds to reinvest, making it equal to the conventional fee of return on the bond.

YTM Over Time

The yield to maturity could change from one 12 months to the subsequent. It is dependent upon adjustments within the total costs within the bond market. For instance, suppose that traders develop into extra keen to carry bonds on account of financial uncertainty. Then bond costs would possible rise, which might spike the denominator within the yield to maturity components, thereby lowering the yield.

Yield to maturity is a vital investing idea used to match bonds of various coupons and instances till maturity. With out accounting for any curiosity funds, zero-coupon bonds at all times reveal yields to maturity equal to their regular charges of return. The yield to maturity for zero-coupon bonds is also called the spot fee.

Particular Issues

Zero-coupon bonds commerce on the main exchanges. They’re generally issued by firms, state and native governments, and the U.S. Treasury. Company zero-coupon bonds are normally riskier than comparable coupon-paying bonds. If the issuer defaults on a zero-coupon bond, the investor has not even acquired coupon funds, so the potential losses are greater.

The IRS mandates a zero-coupon bondholder owes earnings tax that has accrued annually, although the bondholder doesn’t really obtain the money till maturity. That is known as imputed curiosity.

Zero-coupon bonds usually mature in ten years or extra, to allow them to be long-term investments. The dearth of present earnings supplied by zero-coupon bonds discourages some traders. Others discover the securities properly fitted to attaining long-term monetary objectives, equivalent to saving for a kid’s school bills. With the reductions, the investor can develop a small amount of cash into a considerable sum over a number of years.

Zero-coupon bonds basically lock the investor right into a assured reinvestment fee. This association might be most advantageous when rates of interest are excessive and when positioned in tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Some traders additionally keep away from paying taxes on imputed curiosity by shopping for zero-coupon municipal bonds. They’re normally tax-exempt if the investor lives within the state the place the bond was issued.

With no coupon funds on zero-coupon bonds, their worth is solely based mostly on the present worth in comparison with face worth. As such, when rates of interest are falling, costs are positioned to rise quicker than conventional bonds, and vice versa. That may make zero-coupon bonds, particularly zero-coupon Treasuries, an efficient hedge for inventory portfolios.

Why Do Zero-Coupon Bonds Have a Completely different YTM Than a Typical Bond?

Typical bonds pay common curiosity funds, known as coupons, usually semi-annually or yearly. These coupon funds are theoretically to be reinvested when they’re paid, however as a result of rates of interest can change over the lifetime of a bond, there’s reinvestment danger. Since a zero-coupon bond doesn’t have this danger, the YTM will differ accordingly.

What Is Yield to Maturity?

YTM is the full return a bond investor will count on whether it is held to maturity. It’s successfully a bond’s inner fee of return (IRR).