Investors retreat to euro zone debt as stocks sink again

Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. — Reuters pic
Traders work in front of the German index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Dec 28 ― Euro zone borrowing costs dropped across the board yesterday, as an early boost to stock markets lost steam entirely as the session wore on, sending investors back towards the safety of government debt.

Severe volatility has boosted demand for government bonds in recent months, sending the yield on German 10-year debt ― seen as one of the safest and most liquid assets in the world ― to a six-month low of 0.20 per cent last week.

And more volatility this week has kept those yields pinned near those levels. Yesterday, Germany’s 10-year borrowing costs dropped to 0.22 per cent at one stage before settling at 0.225 per cent by the close, down 2.5 basis points on the day.

Other high-grade euro zone yields ― such as those of Austria and the Netherlands ― were also 1-3 basis points lower on the day.



“I think we are seeing a re-allocation of fund flows from to bonds in the US and that’s keeping European yields lower as well,” Mizuho strategist Antoine Bouvet said.

Ten year US Treasury yields dropped 5 bps to 2.75 per cent yesterday.

“I don’t think the current yield (on German debt) sustainable in the longer term given how the supply picture is going to change,” he added, referring in part to the end of the European bond-buying scheme, effective at the end of this year.

Global stocks hit a two-year trough on Christmas Eve, but a dramatic surge in on Wednesday ― the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched its biggest point surge ― and its subsequent effect on Asian and had some hoping the market had bottomed out.

Yet, as yesterday rolled on, the market changed direction again and a pan-European stock index was lower 2 per cent by the close.

And when opened, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly half of the record breaking gain in the previous session after data showed consumer confidence in December fell to its lowest level since July.

Meanwhile, Italian government bond yields cancelled out an early rise and were lower nearly 10 bps by the close after a strong auction of zero coupon bonds boded well for a sale of more conventional debt due today.

Early yesterday, concerns over Banca Carige ― which had a cash call blocked by its largest shareholder ― had pushed the Italy 10-year bond yield spread over Germany wider, but by the close it was tighter 8 bps on the day at 252 bps. ― Reuters



Source: The Malay Mail Online





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