LONDON: Investors sold safe-haven Eurozone government bonds on Thursday as the British parliament’s rejection of a “no-deal Brexit” boosted risk sentiment, but confusion over the complex set of votes and uncertainty over the next steps limited the sell-off.
Most Eurozone bond yields were slightly higher after British lawmakers on Wednesday rejected leaving the European Union without a deal, paving the way for a vote that could delay Brexit until at least the end of June.
Irish and Italian bond yields bucked the trend, dropping on the day.
Italian debt tends to rally when risk sentiment improves, unlike better-rated counterparts, while Irish bonds benefit from signs of a “soft” Brexit, with Ireland the country most likely to be affected by an unruly divorce between Britain and the EU.
“With not much on the data slate, the market is very much reacting to the Brexit news, and reacting positively as a delay looks more likely now,” said Commerzbank rates strategist Rainer Guntermann.
“But also most people are struggling to get the message (from Wednesday’s votes), visibility remains fairly low on the path going forward and uncertainty remains high,” he added, saying this will likely cap the rise in yields.
German 10-year bond yields, the benchmark for the bloc, rose 1.5 basis points to 0.08 per cent; still not far from more than two-year lows of 0.048 per cent hit earlier this month.
Other high-grade Eurozone bond yields — such as those of France and the Netherlands — were also higher 1-2 bps on the day.
This is not as dramatic as the reaction on sterling, for example, which had one of its strongest days this year so far on Wednesday as it became apparent which way the vote was going to go.
British gilt yields were sharply higher, with 10-year yields up nearly 5 basis points; many investors believe that a favourable outcome on Brexit would allow the Bank of England to hike rates later this year.
“That vote is not legally binding in itself, but its political force is considerable ... We now see a 60 per cent chance (up from 55 per cent) that a close variant of the Prime Minister’s current Brexit deal is eventually ratified,” analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note.
The potential impact of a “no-deal Brexit” had weighed heavily on bond markets, with the potential impact of such a development darkening the economic and rates outlook on Britain and Europe.
Ireland, the country most closely-affected by these proceedings, saw its 10-year yield drop over 2.5 bps on Thursday to 0.69 per cent.
Italian bond yields fell even more sharply by 7-8 bps across the board, and the closely-watched Italy-Germany 10-year bond yield spread tightened to 242 bps.