Germany’s benchmark 10-year bond yield was set on Friday for its biggest weekly jump since December 2015, topping a week in which bond yields across the euro zone have soared as investors brace for an end to the era of ultra-easy monetary policy. Bond yields in Germany, France and Italy all hit new highs, although the tone was generally calmer at the end of a week that has seen heavy selling in global debt markets. Comments from the European Central Bank and Bank of England have fuelled a perception that major central banks are at a turning-point – stepping back from the stimulus that has helped pin down borrowing costs for so long.
While the ECB has tried to calm market reaction to remarks made by its chief Mario Draghi this week, investors appear convinced that sooner or later the central bank will have to unwind its asset-purchase programme given a brighter economic backdrop and a scarcity of eligible bonds for the scheme. Data on Thursday showing an unexpected pick-up in inflation in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has added to the bearish tone in regional bond markets, putting the focus on euro zone inflation data out later on Friday.
“It certainty feels like a sentiment change out there. The trigger may have been Draghi’s comments, but the fact is that even after clarification yields have continued to rise and that suggests there is more at play,” Nordea chief strategist Jan von Gerich said. “People are starting to come to the view that tapering will happen soon and they have to position for that.”
In Germany, the euro zone’s benchmark issuer, 10-year Bund yields rose 2 basis points to 0.47 percent, their highest level since March 21. That left them 22 basis points higher on the week and set for the biggest weekly jump since December, 2015.
French and Italian 10-year bond yields both touched fresh multi-week highs and were set for their biggest weekly increases since November, rising over 20 basis points each. Outside the euro zone, U.S. Treasury yields hovered near six-week highs, while 10-year bond yields in Britain and Japan hit their highest levels since March.
Global markets broadly have seem some hefty price action this week, with the euro, for instance, set for its best quarter in nearly seven years.