Global bond investors have found a new worry. 10 year interest rates in Spain, the world’s 12th largest economy, have risen alarmingly in recent weeks. As the chart shows, they are now above 7% (blue column) compared to 4% when the blog first focused on the Eurozone crisis (red).
7% is a critical level, as it marks the point at which countries can usually no longer support the burden of interest cost involved. During the current crisis, it has also marked the moment when countries such as Ireland and Portugal have had to receive a bail-out.
This is why the blog has continued to argue that there are sound reasons for the current record differentials between interest rates being paid by the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) and the JUUGS (Japan, UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland).
Interestingly, some major bond fund managers have recently begun to express similar views. Thus Jeffrey Rosenberg, chief fixed income investment strategist for Blackrock (who have $3.7tn under management), noted recently in respect of the low interest rates in the JUUGS:
“You’re not talking about a bubble because a bubble is about greed. That’s not a reflection of ‘I expect prices to go higher and I have to jump in,’ that’s a reflection of ‘I want to preserve my principal.’ Negative yields reflect fear.”