Germany’s long-dated borrowing costs fell to 2 1/2-year lows below zero percent on Wednesday, resuming a relentless downward push against a backdrop of worries about global growth.
China’s industrial companies posted their worst slump in profits since late 2011 in the first two months of this year, data showed, suggesting further trouble for the world’s second- biggest economy.
New Zealand’s central bank unexpectedly said its next move in interest rates was more likely to be a cut, highlighting a shift among world central banks to a more dovish stance.
Against this backdrop, focus turned to a slew of European Central Bank speakers this session, including ECB President Mario Draghi. Draghi said on Wednesday the economy has remained relatively resilient and the ECB was not short of instruments to deliver on its inflation mandate.
“Maybe the market is hoping for a bolder response from the ECB compared with what we’ve seen already,” said Commerzbank rates strategist Christoph Rieger.
German 10-year bond yields fell over three basis points to minus 0.048pc. Thirty-year yields fell to 0.54pc, also their lowest since late 2016.
French and Dutch 10-year bond yields also fell to 2 1/2-year lows .
Across the euro area, 10-year bond yields were down 2 to 3 bps. They have fallen since the ECB earlier this month pushed back its guidance for a rate increase and flagged a fresh round of cheap bank loans to help the economy.
That drop in yields — matched by declines in yields in Tokyo, London and New York — gathered pace last week after the US Federal Reserve signalled a halt to its rate increases and weak data sparked recession fears across world markets.
The gap between yields on three-month Treasury bills and 10-year notes on Friday fell below zero for the first time since 2007. The US curve remains inverted.
“Macro momentum has been spluttering for some time. I don’t think there’s anything the bond market knows about the global economy that the rest of us don’t know,” said Paul O’Connor, head of the UK-based multi-asset team at Janus Henderson.
“My instinct is the fear about yield curve inversion has been somewhat overplayed.”
Brexit also remained in focus for bond markets.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will address her Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday, possibly to set out a timetable for her departure to win support for her twice-rejected Brexit deal in parliament.