Thursday, December 13, 2012

13/12/2012: Italy & Spain escape bond markets scrutiny... for now



Two bond auctions for the largest peripheral euro area countries showed the sign of markets still believing the ECB promises of OMT 'some time soon' and at significant support levels.

Spain aimed to sell up to €2 billion worth of above-OMT dated paper and in the end managed to sell slightly ahead of target: €2.02 billion in 3-, 5- and 28-year bonds. Recalling that OMT is promising to purchase bonds with maturities up to 3 years, the result was pretty strong.

Average yields were 3.358% for 3-year paper (compared to 3.39% back on December 5th), 4-year yield was 4.2% down on 4.766% back at October 4, and 28-year bond yield was 5.893%.

Bid-cover ratios were 4.81 for 3-year (vs 2 on December 5), 3.13 for 5-year (vs 2.47 on October 4) and 2.09 for the 2040 bonds. This was the first time near-30-year bonds were offered since May 2011.

Spain is now out of the woods in terms of funding for 2012 - it has raised this year's requirement back a month ago - but the country will need to raise some €90.4 billion in 2013.


Italy also went to the well today, placing €4.22 billion worth of bonds - below the maximum target €4.25 billion. The bonds placed were: €3.5 billion of 3-year paper at 2.5% (down on 2.64% in November 14 auction, marking the lowest yield since October 28, 2010 auction) and €729 million of 14-year paper at 4.75% yield. Bid-cover ratios were much weaker than those for Spain: 3-year paper attracted ratio of 1.36 down on 1.5 in last month's auction.

Italy's 2013 funding requirement is expected at over €400 billion.

Thus, both Italy and Spain seemed to have benefited once again from the ECB's OMT promises. The problem is out to 2013 - with both Italy and Spain having to raise just over 1/2 of the LTROs 1&2 worth of bonds, the promise of OMT better translate into actual scaled OMT purchases, and the threat of political mess in Italy better stay out of headlines.


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