One Less Negative Yield Bund in Germany, a Million More to Go

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You might not have seen the end nor heard the end of the world of negative interest rates yet. Just don’t tell that to longer-term and intermediate-term German bund traders. Short term and intermediate-term bunds in Germany are still trading at negative yields. The 10-year bund yield is another matter.

Friday’s 10-year bund yield is back to positive, at a whopping 0.01%. This hardly feels positive and investable to Americans. It also hardly sounds like any real reason to cheer. Still, that yield rose by 7 basis points on Friday, and it is up 9 basis points over a month. What if more bund yields in Germany, and other government notes in Europe, rise back above the unthinkable 0.00% threshold?

It seems hard to imagine in the Negative interest rate policy (NIRP) or the Zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) days. This is one of those issues that seems too small to celebrate on the surface. Still, sometimes less-bad news is the greatest news ever.

Maybe the Federal Reserve speech about the U.S. has something to do with this. Also, this week’s meeting from the European Central Bank showed some slight positive revisions to Eurozone GDP forecasts. Still, the ECB’s Mario Draghi has pledged for rates to be where they are, or even lower, for a considerable period of time.

The yield on the 30-year bund in Germany is now 0.60%, up 10 basis points from Thursday and up 18 basis points from a month ago.

In contrast, 10-year U.S. Treasury notes are yielding 1.67% on Friday, and the 30-year Treasury bond yield is yielding a whopping 2.40%. either sound exciting, at least not until comparing them to major European yields.

The United Kingdom is still facing post-Brexit hurdles and uncertainty. Its longer-term yields are somewhere in the middle of the ECB and the Treasury. U.K. 10-year gilts yield 0.86% and the 30-year gilt yields 1.50% — those yields are up 10 and 12 basis points from just a day earlier.