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Developments in the Greek government bond market - October 2007

05/11/2007 - Press Releases

Government bonds recorded gains on international markets in October, with yields falling strongly during the third week of the month but then erasing most of the gains towards the end of the month. Disappointing earnings, reported by major international banks for the third quarter of 2007, and the release of weak economic data in the US, showing further correction in the housing sector, enhanced investor expectations of monetary easing by the Federal Reserve (FED). These expectations, and geopolitical worries, resulted also in further rises in oil prices (NYMEX crude oil futures closed above USD 95 per barrel at the end of October), gold and the EUR that touched a historic high of 1.45 against the USD on October 31. Eventually, the FED cut official interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) on October 31.

On the Greek electronic secondary securities market (HDAT), government bond yields fell in October, in line with the performance seen in the rest of the Euro-zone markets. The biggest decline, by 12 bps, was recorded by both the 10-year and the 15-year benchmark bond yields that closed at 4.53% and 4.77% respectively at the end of October from 4.65% and 4.89% at the end of September. The 30-year benchmark bond yield fell by 11bps to 4.87% from 4.98% and the 3-year yield by 5 bps to 4.20% from 4.25%. Therefore, the yield curve flattened while shifting downward as the yield difference between the 30 and the 3-year bond yields narrowed to 67 bps from 73 bps. Finally, the average monthly spread between the Greek and the German 10-year benchmark bond yields narrowed considerably in October to 28 bps from 32 bps in September, reflecting an easing of the tensions in financial markets.

Benchmark bond prices rose between 14 bps (3-year bond) and 169 bps (30-year bond). The 3-year bond price increased to 98.74 at the end of October from 98.60 at the end of September, the 10-year bond price rose to 98.16 from 97.23 and the 30-year bond price to 95.45 from 93.76.

Trading volume on HDAT in October was EUR 40.75 billion worth of transactions compared to EUR 34.35 billion in September and EUR 52.64 in October 2006. The daily average turnover rose to EUR 1.77 billion compared to EUR 1.72 billion during the previous month. Investors’ interest was mainly focused on bonds with remaining maturity between 7 and 10 years, which absorbed EUR 23.9 billion worth of transactions or 59% of the overall traded volume, while the most actively traded bond was the 10-year benchmark with EUR 17.2 billion worth of transactions followed by the 10-year bond, maturing 20/7/2016, with EUR 5 billion. Of the 7,298 orders executed on HDAT, 50.9% were “buy” orders and 49.1% “sell” orders.

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