Japanese investors bought the most British and Australian long-term sovereign bonds since 2011 in July, while dumping German Bunds in the first seven months of the year amid unprecedented European Central Bank stimulus.
Fund managers in the Asian nation net purchased ¥375 billion of gilts and ¥199 billion of Australian government debt, the most since at least September 2011, according to data from the Finance Ministry and central bank.
They acquired ¥1.1 trillion of U.S. Treasurys and sold ¥235 billion of German securities, the data show.
The euro has dropped more than 2 percent since May against major developed-nation peers as the ECB implemented interest-rate cuts, a charge on deposits and liquidity programs to avoid deflation and stimulate growth. Germany’s benchmark 10-year yield has declined every month this year, with the gap to similar British securities reaching the widest since 1997.
“The yield on Bunds was too low,” said Hideaki Kuriki, a debt trader at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management Co., which oversees the equivalent of $46 billion. “So Japanese investors went to Australian bonds or English bonds.”
Kuriki said he bought Australian sovereign securities in July. His fund guidelines require him to seek higher-rated debt and do not allow him to buy lower-ranked bonds such as those of Spain and Italy, he said.
Germany’s 10-year note yields 0.93 percent compared with 2.46 percent for the British, 3.44 percent for Australia and 2.44 percent for the U.S. The two-year yields for seven of 11 euro-area nations tracked by Bloomberg are negative.
Japanese investors slowed net purchases of French long-term bonds to ¥449 billion from ¥1.1 trillion in June, while buying of Italian securities fell to ¥40 billion from ¥133 billion. They have offloaded a net ¥4.8 trillion of German debt this year.
The premium France’s 10-year debt offers over Germany’s has contracted to 33 basis points from this year’s high of 72 and the spread for Italy is at 133 basis points, down from 226 in January.
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