UK increases debt sale on high demand

BRITAIN saw such strong demand for its index-linked debt yesterday that the government’s Debt Management Office decided to expand the amount available for sale to raise a total of £740m.

An additional £40m was sold after the auction was covered 1.9 times despite the bonds delivering a marginally negative yield of minus 0.116 per cent.

The yield on the 35-year bonds is set to protect against inflation, with many investors so fearful that they are focused merely on the preservation of their wealth, rather than growth.

The sale shows the ongoing appeal of “safe haven” assets despite a mood of greater optimism since the New Year.

The Dutch treasury also benefited from the same effect: it sold €3.11bn of bonds at a 0.85 per cent yield. That is down significantly from a sale of debt with a similar maturity in October, for which it paid a 1.4 per cent yield.

Austria saw its debt costs move in the opposite direction, however, showing that there are still jitters over the solvency of its close neighbour Hungary, despite Budapest making some concessions to its creditors yesterday.

Austria sold €660m of five-year bonds at an average yield of 2.21 per cent, which is up from the 1.96 per cent yield at an equivalent sale in November.