Japanese government bonds slipped slightly on Monday, taking their cues from firmer equities but not straying far from recent levels. The 10-year cash JGB yield added half a basis point to 0.055 percent, while the September 10-year JGB futures contract finished down 0.01 point at 150.42. In the superlong zone, the 20-year JGB yield rose half a basis point to 0.565 percent, while the 30-year JGB yield was up one basis point at 0.815 percent. The Nikkei stock index ended up 0.6 percent.
JGB yields also garnered some upward directional pressure from US Treasury yields, which edged up on Monday as Asian equities firmed. The yield on the benchmark U.S. Treasury note was at 2.160 percent in afternoon Asian trading, up from its U.S. close of 2.157 percent on Friday.
Economic data released early on Monday also undermined bond market sentiment. Japan’s exports surged in May by the fastest in more than two years on higher shipments of cars and steel, an encouraging sign that robust global demand will help keep the country’s modest economic recovery on track.
The 14.9 percent annual increase in exports in May was below analysts’ expectations of 16.1 percent, but was still the biggest rise since January 2015, and was nearly twice the pace seen in April. International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director David Lipton said on Monday that the Bank of Japan’s new monetary policy framework was already showing some success by bringing down market volatility and stabilising the bond yield curve.
On Friday, the BOJ held policy steady as widely expected, and also continued to state that it plans to increase its JGB holdings by about 80 trillion yen a year, even though the bank’s actual pace has lagged that level for the past several months. Analysts expect the BOJ to slow its buying to around 60 trillion yen by year-end, and eventually omit the 80-trillion-yen pledge from its policy statement.