What is the ‘Zero-Volatility Spread – Z-spread’
The Zero-volatility spread (Z-spread) is the constant spread that makes the price of a security equal to the present value of its cash flows when added to the yield at each point on the spot rate Treasury curve where a cash flow is received. In other words, each cash flow is discounted at the appropriate Treasury spot rate plus the Z-spread. The Z-spread is also known as a static spread.
Explaining ‘Zero-Volatility Spread – Z-spread’
The Z-spread helps analysts discover if there is a discrepancy in a bond’s price. Because the Z-spread measures the spread that an investor will receive over the entirety of the Treasury yield curve, it gives analysts a more realistic valuation of a security instead of a single-point metric, such as a bond’s maturity date.
A Z-spread calculation is different than a nominal spread calculation. A nominal spread calculation uses one point on the Treasury yield curve (not the spot-rate Treasury yield curve) to determine the spread at a single point that will equal the present value of the security’s cash flows to its price.