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Euro Zone Government Bond Yields fall on Turkish Tumult

Euro zone government bond yields fell on Monday as a plunge in the Turkish lira boosted demand for safer assets.

President Tayyip Erdogan shocked markets by replacing Turkey’s hawkish central bank governor with a critic of high interest rates, sparking a selloff in stocks, talk about possible capital controls and a dash for safer assets such as government debt.

The benchmark 10-year German government bond yield dropped 2 basis points to -0.315%.

Other core euro zone bond yields were down by a similar margin, peripheral euro zone yields by slightly less.

German bond yields also fell on Friday as concerns about the growth outlook in the euro area following a spike in COVID-19 cases encouraged investors to bet that the European Central Bank will want to keep rates as low as possible.

New lockdowns have been declared or are expected to be announced shortly in several euro zone countries as governments try to reverse the rise in cases.

The past month has seen a dramatic selloff in the United States government bond market, sparked by worries about rising inflation as the U.S. economy rebounds.

But euro zone government bond markets, after initially selling off, too, have remained resilient, although German 10-year bond yields -- at close to -0.3% -- are still nearly double early 2021 levels of around -0.6%.

“Going forward, we think that Bund outperformance relative to USTs [U.S. Treasuries] will continue, even if today’s data on ECB weekly purchases do not indicate an acceleration. Indeed, the economic outlook in the US looks more favourable than in the euro zone,” UniCredit analysts said in a research note.

Investors are awaiting the latest ECB data to assess whether the central bank has begun accelerating its bond purchases.

They added that they expect the ECB will be “more supportive of EGBs [euro zone government bonds] than the Fed is of USTs.”

The ECB weekly purchase data covers the period from March 11 to 17 and comes after ECB President Christine Lagarde signalled faster money-printing to keep a lid on euro zone borrowing costs on March 11.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield dropped 5 basis points to 1.68% in European trading as investors fretted about the fallout from the plunge in the Turkish lira.

The U.S. 10-year yield had last week shot up to above 1.75%, its highest since January 2020.

Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Larry King

Source: Reuters

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