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Thomas Kenny

Low Government Bond Yields Aren't Just a U.S. Phenomenon

By December 10, 2012

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U.S. investors who are struggling with the environment of ultra-low interest rates can take heart: the rest of the world shares your pain. Across the developed markets, yields are so low that four major countries actually offer government bond yields less than that of the United States. The J.P. Morgan Government Bond Index, which tracks bonds of all maturities in 13 major markets, offered a yield of just 1.72% as of December 7, 2012. The U.S component of the index was on the low side, at 1.52%, but Sweden (1.47%), Germany (1.36%), Denmark (1.35%), and Japan (1.05%) all offered lower yields than the United States, while Netherlands (1.53%) was just a shade above. The highest, unsurprisingly, were two countries that remain mired in the European debt crisis: Spain (5.05%) and Italy (4.33%). No wonder, then, that investors aren't getting much of a benefit from looking at global government bonds right now: the largest exchange-traded fund that invests in this space, the SPDR Barclays International Treasury Bond ETF (ticker:BWX) has a 30-day SEC yield of 1.42% - below the 1.63% yield on the 10-year note. For now, investors in search of yield will have to look elsewhere.

Learn more:

Where to find yield NOW

Investing in international government bonds

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