Investors buy French bonds, sell German debt

Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) — Japanese investors were net buyers of French bonds and sellers of German bonds in June, data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance showed on Tuesday, attracted by the higher yields on French securities.

Monthly portfolio investment data showed Japanese investors bought a net ¥327.3 billion ($2.95 billion) of French bonds in June, after buying ¥646.8 billion in May.

They sold a net ¥51 billion of German debt in June after buying a net ¥305.1 billion the previous month.

In May Japanese investors had bought a variety of European bonds, including those from Germany, France and Britain as they began allocating new funds for the financial year that began in April.

But in June investors appeared to have become more selective following the surge in global debt yields that originated in Europe.

European debt yields climbed sharply towards the end of June after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comments were seen to have signaled a prospective end to the eurozone’s easy monetary policy.

“Some investors likely reduced their German bond holdings in June following the ECB’s hawkish message,” said Shin Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

“On the other hand, it is relatively easier for Japanese investors to keep buying French bonds as they yield more and with the country’s political events out of the way,” Kadota added, referring to June’s French presidential election.

The German 10-year bond yield ranged between 0.225 percent and 0.480 percent in June, while its French counterpart spanned 0.578 percent and 0.840 percent.

Japanese investors sold a net ¥65.7 billion of British bonds in June after buying a net ¥188.3 billion in May.

The 10-year British gilt yield sank to an eight-month trough below 1 percent in June after going as high as 1.22 percent in May.

Elsewhere, Japanese investors bought a net ¥1.242 trillion of U.S. debt in June after buying a net ¥1.610 trillion in May.

They sold a net ¥188.9 billion of Australian bonds in June, following 11 consecutive months of net buying. The net selling amount in June was the largest since December 2014.

High-yielding Australian debt has found steady demand from Japanese investors, but the 10-year yield declined to a seven-month low of 2.33 percent in June.


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