This report describes the performance of the European bond market for the last 18 months and evaluates the impact of the major events, causes and factors which affected the sovereign and corporate bond market during this period. The report also provides the future of the European bond market based on the political scenario prevailing in that region along with a discussion on the methods to ease the financial crisis in the Euro zone.
The European bond market experienced severe tension in the year of 2011 and the sovereign yields increased further.
Wealth holders are aware of the risk and price the bonds accordingly. In some cases there is an overestimation of risk which leads to an increase of the respective yield (see Appendix 1.1) (European Central Bank, 2012).
European Bond Market Performance
Performance of Sovereign Bond
The risk involved in the European bond market intensified considerably over the past 18 months due to slowing global growth prospect and broadening of concern about the government debt position in large European economies. Chart 1 shows the yield spreads (Appendix 1.2) of selected European countries against the German bund. The yield spread has increased by the end of 2011 except for Ireland.
Chart 1 – Yield spreads of European bonds over German bunds (a)
Source: Thomson Reuters Data stream and Bank calculations cited in Bank of England, 2011b, p.7.
(a) Ten-year government and EFSF bond spreads over German bunds. (b) Spreads as on 15 June 2011 except for EFSF, which is as on 17 June 2011. (c) Spreads as on 22 November 2011.In May, Portugal becomes the third European country to seek financial assistance from European authorities and International Monitory Fund (IMF) (Bank of England, 2011a). Even though Greece and Portugal obtained financial support, market was concerned about the sustainability of their fiscal position. Chart 2 plots the yield on 10 year government bond of Greece which shows that the yield has come down in March 2012 and after that it shows a rising trend due to uncertainty about the financial stability of Greece.
Chart 2 – Yield of 10 year Government bond of Greece