# Yield Basis

## What it is:

Yield basis refers to the act of quoting bond prices in terms of yield percentages rather than in dollars.

## How it works (Example):

Let's assume Company XYZ has \$20,000,000 in bonds outstanding that pay 5% interest per year (or \$50 per \$1,000 bond). If the bonds are trading at \$900 apiece, then the yield basis is:

\$50/\$900 = 0.0555 or 5.55%

## Why it Matters:

Yield basis is useful for easily comparing bond characteristics. Though dollar prices are helpful, they don't take into account the other characteristics of a bond.

In particular, the yield basis indicates whether a bond is trading at a discount or a premium. If the yield basis is greater than the coupon rate, the bond is trading at a discount; if the yield basis is lower than the coupon rate, the bond is trading at a premium. Thus, bonds are generally quoted on yield basis, particularly Treasurys.

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