Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:35
Written by Glen Asher
As someone who follows the world's bond market relatively closely, over recent months, I have noticed an interesting trend in European bond yields and have seen yields that I would never have thought possible. I'm going to let several charts do my writing for me, noting that all charts follow the changes in yield over the past 3 years.
Here is the chart showing the yield for 2 year Portuguese
Here is the chart showing the yield for 2 year Irish
Here is the chart showing the yield for 2 year Italian
Here is the chart showing the yield profile for 2 year Greek
Lastly, here is the chart showing the yield for 2 year Spanish
Now, let's look at the contrasting yields on several non-PIIGS European bonds:
Here is the chart showing the yield profile for 2 year German
bonds which actually went negative in late May/early June:
Here is the chart showing the yield profile for 2 year Swiss
bonds which are currently well into negative territory where they have been for days:
Here is the chart showing the yield profile for 2 year Danish
bonds which were negative and are sitting very, very slightly above zero percent:
Lastly, here is the chart showing the yield profile for 2 year Finish
If we exclude Ireland, there seems to be a very strong north-south split. It's also interesting to see investors' desperate "flight to security"; their willingness to pay to have a nation hold onto their funds for two years and get less back in the end is nothing short of astonishing!
Here is a chart showing the debt, debt-to-GDP profiles for the aforementioned countries current to the end of 2011 according to Eurostat
(except Switzerland as linked here
Germany is definitely getting a pass on its high debt level because of its strong economy, however, that could change if interest rates rise and their debt continues to climb as they are forced to bailout their neighbours.
Since all European nations are sharing a common currency, technically, they should all be sharing similar interest rates, a situation that was the case until the beginning of the Great Recession as shown here:
Now that you've looked at all of these charts, what do you the odds are that Europe will survive in its current incarnation? My suspicion is that the union of the unequals is doomed.
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