Wednesday, December 7

Euro zone yields fall from multi-year highs tracking UK gilts


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Euro zone borrowing costs fell on Wednesday, tracking moves in British gilts, after hitting multi-year highs amid monetary tightening expectations and concerns about potentially growing bond supply due to more public spending.

The euro area bond market has recently trailed yields in British gilts, which recorded their sharpest rise in decades in response to new finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax cuts and borrowing plans.

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But British government bonds soared and their yields dropped by 50 basis points (bps) on Wednesday after the Bank of England announced it would intervene in the 2.1 trillion-pound market that was starting to seize up.

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Germany’s 10-year government bond yield, the benchmark of the bloc, fell 10 bps to 2.15% after hitting a fresh nearly 11-year high at 2.35% earlier in the session.

“We think (BoE) purchases should and will last longer than the initial two weeks. This would restore market confidence,” ING analysts said in a note to clients.

“A lot still hinges on the (British) Treasury and investors will be looking for a credible plan to get debt under control. Today’s decision from the BoE only buys time,” they added.

The 2-year yield dropped 16.5 bps to 1.85% in its biggest daily fall since July. It hit its highest since December 2008 at 2.03% on Monday.

The German yield curve steepened after being close to inversion last week, with the gap between 2- and 10-year yields hitting an almost 3-week high of 42.7 bps.

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European Central Bank officials said the ECB may need to raise interest rates by another 75 bps at its October meeting and move again in December to a level that no longer stimulates the economy.

Investors also fear that a further expansion of budget deficits to support the economy might hurt bond prices.

Germany’s 10-year inflation-linked yield fell 1 bps to -0.05%, after rising to positive territory for the first time since June 2015 at 0.04%.

The jump of yields in British gilts also widened yield spreads between core and peripheral government bonds.

Italy’s 10-year bond yield was down 13 bps to 4.6%, after hitting its highest since February 2013 at 4.927%, with the spread between Italian and German 10-year yields tightening to 243 bps.

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Investors focused on Italy’s budget after the center-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s elections, inheriting one of the euro zone’s biggest debt burdens at a time of rising rates and slowing economic growth.

Mario Draghi’s outgoing government will unveil new growth and public finance estimates this week in its Economic and Financial Document (DEF), which will form the framework for the 2023 budget to be examined by European Union.

“We have a target at 250 bps for the 10Y Italian-German yield spread, but with risks skewed on the upside, as the backdrop is not favorable for peripheral bonds,” said Francesco Maria Di Bella, rate strategist at UniCredit.

“Italian elections didn’t affect the market much. The real issues now are gas prices which might push inflation higher, and a possible quantitative tightening from the ECB, which would hurt the most indebted countries,” he added.

(Reporting by Stefano Rebaudo; editing by Angus MacSwan, Toby Chopra, Alex Richardson and Deepa Babington)

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financialpost.com