ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


European government bond yields moved to all-time lows as investors rushed to buy bonds after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced a larger program of government-bond purchases than the market had expected.

The yield on the German 10-year bund hit an all-time intraday low of 0.305% in mid-morning trade. The yield for the bund was down 7.6 basis points to 0.321% in recent trade, after closing 6.7 basis points lower on Thursday.

On Thursday, Draghi announced that, beginning in March, the ECB will buy EUR60 billion of debt, including government bonds, in an effort to stimulate economic growth in the eurozone. The program of quantitative easing will continue through September 2016. And Draghi left the door open for more after that date.

Rates were lower across Europe. In addition to the German 10-year, the yields of seven other European 10-year bonds were at record intraday lows.

All together, the ECB has committed to buying about EUR1.2 trillion in bonds, overshooting the market’s expectation of, at most, EUR1 trillion. Now, investors are buying up bonds faster than many analysts had expected because they believe prices will rise even higher in a month when the ECB starts draining a massive amount of liquidity from the market.

Tom di Galoma, head of rates and credit trading at ED & F Man Capital Markets, said he had expected eurozone bonds to sell off after the announcement as the market adjusts for the higher inflation that typically results from a central bank injecting billions of euros into the financial system every month.

“The general feeling that I get is that investors were expecting a smaller package from the ECB and then the market would somehow selloff,” di Galoma said.

But instead bonds have continued to move lower. Di Galoma said we’re likely to see negative rates for the 10-year bund in the near future.

“You’re seeing Swiss rates at negative 29 basis points at the 10 year — I don’t know why German rates can’t go close to zero themselves. You’ve already got the German two-year, three-year and five-year all negative [yields] and the seven-year is at seven basis points,” di Galoma.

The 10-year Treasury yield was down 6.9 basis points to 1.827% Friday morning after closing higher on Thursday. Meanwhile, the two-year yield was down 1.6 basis points to 0.507%.