Rates soar in first Spanish debt auction since election

22nd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Borrowing rates soared when Spain sold short-term debt on Tuesday for the first time since a weekend general election swept the right to power.

The Treasury raised 2.978 billion euros ($4 billion) in an auction of three- and six-month bills but had to offer yields of more than five percent, far higher than at the previous comparable sale on October 25.

Investors showed no apparent change of heart after the opposition Popular Party's crushing election victory Sunday and its promises to fix the economy and meet deficit-cutting goals.

Demand was strong, outstripping supply by more than three-to-one and allowing the state to meet its target of raising 2.0-3.0 billion euros in funds.

But rates soared from the last comparable auction on October 25.

On the three-month bills, yields more than doubled to 5.110 percent from 2.292 percent. On the six-month bills they surged to 5.227 percent from 3.302 percent.

The yields were also significantly higher than those traded in the day-to-day market, which closed on Monday at 1.725 percent for three-month bills and 2.025 percent for six-month bills.

The debt risk premium -- the extra rate investors demand on Spanish 10-year government bonds compared to safe-haven German debt -- hovered at a high level of 4.65 percentage points after piercing 5.0 percentage points last week.

Short-term debt instruments almost always carry lower interest rates than longer-term bonds because time is risk and the rate of return on longer-term lending must reflect this.

© 2011 AFP

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