BERLIN/PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) – Investors snapped up French
and German bonds at auctions on Wednesday, overlooking miserly
yields as they sought out assets most likely to withstand the
rising risk that Greece could leave the euro zone.
The political situation in Athens, where anti-bailout
momentum is gathering, has become so critical investors were
prepared to accept returns that were the lowest ever offered on
such debt, and not enough to compensate for expected inflation.
Leftists opposed to the reforms agreed with the European
Union and the International Monetary Fund under a vital aid deal
are favourites to win new Greek elections in June after talks to
form a government failed.
That prospect has raised fears the country could default and
quit the euro, sending shockwaves through markets, and pushing
borrowing costs for larger indebted states in the bloc such as
Spain and Italy rapidly towards unsustainable levels.
“We’re hearing more and more talk about Greece leaving the
euro zone, while this was a taboo subject a few months ago …
The result of the auctions just shows you how nervous markets
are,” said Viola Stork, fixed income analyst at Helaba
A German auction on Wednesday of 4.1 billion euros of its
benchmark July 2022 Bund drew above-average demand of 1.5 times
the amount sold and produced Germany’s lowest-ever cost of
10-year funds at an average 1.47 percent.
The relative health of Germany’s economy and public finances
mean its debt, rated triple-A by all three major credit rating
agencies, is among the world’s safest and most liquid assets.
The result contrasted with April’s debut sale of the same
bond, when a record low coupon of 1.75 percent stopped Germany
attracting enough bids to cover the full amount offered – an
illustration of how much sentiment has deteriorated in a month.
Meanwhile, demand at an auction of French five-year bonds,
the country’s first sale of medium-term debt since Socialist
Francois Hollande was elected president earlier this month, was
nearly threefold the amount of debt on offer.
France paid a record low cost of 1.72 percent as investors
bid above-market prices to secure the bonds, which offer
significantly higher returns than German, Dutch and other
top-rated euro zone debt. France is still rated triple-A by
Moody’s and Fitch, but was downgraded to AA+ by Standard &
Poor’s in January as part of a mass downgrade of euro zone
It also sold 1.182 billion euros of bonds linked to French
and euro zone inflation rates in a separate auction with
investors making bids worth 3.467 billion euros, also nearly
three times the amount on offer.
Some analysts saw the strong auction result as a sign that
markets were encouraged by the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting
between Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at which
they pledged to forge a joint approach in policy.
Instead of renegotiating the Merkel-backed European
agreement on budget discipline as some investors had feared
before the election, they are now expected to complement it with
a “growth pact”.
NEUMUENSTER, Germany, April 29 (Reuters) – With some
sporting pirate garb and black beards in light-hearted tribute
to their name, Germany’s Pirates party gathered in a small city
hall and in the vast open waters of cyberspace this weekend to
chart a course that may yet take them to the national
The party, which met in the northern city of Neumuenster,
aroused a mixture of rye amusement and angry derision when it
stormed onto the political scene last year garnering 8.9 percent
of vote in Berlin’s city assembly. Since then, however, it has
staked a claim to third place in the party pecking order,
garnering 11 to 13 percent in opinion polls.
NEUMUENSTER, Germany (Reuters) – With some sporting pirate garb and black beards in light-hearted tribute to their name, Germany’s Pirates party gathered in a small city hall and in the vast open waters of cyberspace this weekend to chart a course that may yet take them to the national parliament.
The party, which met in the northern city of Neumuenster, aroused a mixture of rye amusement and angry derision when it stormed onto the political scene last year garnering 8.9 percent of vote in Berlin’s city assembly. Since then, however, it has staked a claim to third place in the party pecking order, garnering 11 to 13 percent in opinion polls.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Enter the soaring exhibition hall of Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof and you feel as if you are faced with an eerie science-fiction film set.
Colossal cones of light pierce the misty, darkness, beckoning the visitor to tread within their silvery forms, in this new exhibition of British-born artist Anthony McCall’s so-called “light films”.
KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) – Poll figures may be low and forecasts gloomy, but Martina Reuter felt certain things were looking up for her party – Germany’s Free Democrats (FDP), the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition.
“At the moment there is a real mood of change … There is a return to the old, fundamental values,” the 50-year-old party member told Reuters at a weekend FDP congress in Karlsruhe, western Germany.
BERLIN, April 20 (Reuters) – German business sentiment
unexpectedly rose for the sixth month in a row in April in a
sign that Europe’s largest economy continues to outpace peers
and shrug off persistent worries about the euro zone debt
The Munich-based Ifo think tank said on Friday its business
climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000
companies, inched up to 109.9 in April from 109.8 in March,
taking it to its highest level since July 2011.
BERLIN, April 19 (Reuters) – Hundreds of birch trees from
the biggest Nazi death camp, at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland,
are dotted around Berlin as a living memorial of this dark
chapter in Germany’s past.
The trees, called Birke in German, lent their name to the
Birkenau camp where as many as 1.5 million people, mostly Jews,
perished between 1940 and 1945.
LONDON/BERLIN, April 11 (Reuters) – Safe-haven Germany
offered the lowest ever return of 1.75 percent on its 10-year
government bonds on Wednesday, dampening demand for its debt
despite concerns about Spain and Italy.
Investors sold Spanish debt on Tuesday and yields jumped at
an Italian bill auction on Wednesday, on doubts about whether
those countries can keep debt and deficits in check. This had
drawn attention to the auction of Germany’s low risk debt.
BERLIN, April 9 (Reuters) – British photographer Richard
Pare is on a mission to capture Soviet avant-garde buildings
before they turn to ruins in the hope of raising awareness about
this little-known period of experimentation in modern
The exhibition “Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and
Architecture 1915-1935″, which opened in Berlin on Thursday,
displays his work in colour alongside black-and-white archive
photos of the buildings under construction and modernist Russian
BERLIN/BERN (Reuters) – Switzerland and Germany are to toughen their tax crackdown on secret Swiss bank accounts in a move that could pour billions of extra euros into German state coffers, but which does not go far enough for the country’s main opposition party.
The deal could end a diplomatic spat that has dragged on for years and net Berlin billions of euros in revenues from Germans who parked their cash in the small Alpine nation to avoid taxes, while preserving Switzerland’s cherished banking secrecy.