SHARE
COPY LINK

FINANCE

Germany sells first ever bonds with negative interest rates

Germany issued a 10-year bond at a negative interest for the first time on Wednesday, selling more than €4.0 billion with a yield of minus 0.05 percent, the German central bank or Bundesbank said.

Germany sells first ever bonds with negative interest rates
Photo: DPA

The 10-year German government bond or “Bund” acts as a benchmark on the debt markets and regarded as one of the safest investments.

It is the first time that investors have accepted negative returns in the first issue of a bond, meaning they will pay for the privilege of owning rock-solid German bonds amid fears about the consequences of the British vote to quit the European union and economic worries.

While borrowers traditionally pay interest on the money they are loaned, in the face of heightened political and economic uncertainty, those interest rates have come down to record lows recently as investors flock to safe havens to park their cash.

By accepting negative yields, investors are effectively ditching any hope of a return on their investment in what seems a reasonable price to pay to escape the uncertainties of falling stock markets or volatile commodities and currencies.

Interest rates on sovereign debt have been low for some time as central banks snap up government bonds from investors in an effort to boost economic growth through increased liquidity.

The European Central Bank has slashed its key interest rates to zero and launched a massive bond-buying programme known as quantitative easing (QE) in a bid to get the eurozone economy back on its feet and push inflation higher.

Germany is just one of three countries in the euro area and six in the European Union to enjoy a top-notch triple-A rating on its sovereign debt.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ECONOMY

Sweden’s new right-wing govt slashes development aid

Sweden, one of the world's biggest international donors, is planning drastic aid cuts in the coming years, the country's new right-wing government said in its budget bill presented on Tuesday.

Sweden's new right-wing govt slashes development aid

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government said it planned to reduce the country’s international aid by 7.3 billion kronor ($673 million) in 2023, and by another 2.2 billion kronor in 2024.

That is around a 15-percent reduction from what had been planned by the previous left-wing government and means Sweden will abandon its foreign aid target of 1 percent of gross national income.

International aid for refugees will be capped at a maximum of eight percent of its aid, and will also be reduced.

According to the specialised site Donor Tracker, Sweden was the world’s eighth-biggest international aid donor in terms of absolute value last year, and the third-biggest in proportion to the size of its economy, donating 0.92 percent of its gross national income, behind Luxembourg and Norway.

The new government, which is backed for the first time by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, had announced in its government programme last month that it would be cutting foreign aid.

Since 1975, Stockholm has gone further than the UN’s recommendation of donating at least 0.7 percent of its wealth to development aid.

Despite its growth forecast being revised downwards — the economy is expected to shrink by 0.4 percent next year and grow by 2 percent in 2024 — the 2023 budget forecasts a surplus of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product.

It calls for an additional 40 billion kronor in spending, with rising envelopes for crime fighting and the building of new nuclear reactors, as well as a reduction in taxes on petrol and an increase in the defence budget.

The new government is a minority coalition made up of Kristersson’s conservative Moderates, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal party, backed in parliament by their key ally the Sweden Democrats to give them a majority.

SHOW COMMENTS