As one of the safest havens for assets around the world, Japan’s government bonds saw yields hit new lows as global economic and governmental risks rise ahead of the next week’s referendum on whether the United Kingdom will remain in the European Union, a vote better known as Brexit.
“In the global risk-off environment, few want to sell ahead of the June 23 referendum,” Shuichi Ohsaki, chief rates strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Tokyo told Bloomberg. “The decline in yields is accelerating with buying in a one-way market.”
Since bond prices rise when yield falls, the drop in yields has caused prices to rise so much that Japan’s bond market is heading for its best six-month rally since 1995. This is partly the result of the BOJ introducing negative interest rates early this year to increase purchases of government debt.
On Thursday, the yields on Japan’s 10-year bond fell to an unprecedented minus 0.195%. The rally also sent 20- and 30-year yields to historic levels at 0.135% and 0.21%, respectively. Five-year yields hit an all-time low of minus 0.295% and two-year yields sank to minus 0.285%. Forty-year yields slid to 0.245%. As the yields plunge so too do the chances that the central bank will be able to expand its unprecedented stimulus when it concludes a two-day meeting in Tokyo on Thursday.
“There is no logic in the BOJ saying it will cut negative rates further to drive down yields because yields are falling for reasons other than Japan’s monetary policy,” Hiroyuki Kubota, an independent financial analyst told Bloomberg. “The rally in the (Japanese Bond) market is purely from moves related to the Brexit concerns. It’s excessive and appears to be bubbly.”