FRANCFORT (Dow Jones)--Les coûts de financement de la France ont peu évolué jeudi lors d'une adjudication d'obligations assimilables du Trésor (OAT), les investisseurs ayant accepté des rendements proches de leurs points bas historiques. Le marché s'attend de plus en plus à ce que la faiblesse de la conjoncture économique dans la zone euro maintienne les taux d'intérêt sous pression pendant un moment.
L'Agence France Trésor (AFT) a placé jeudi pour 7,99 milliards d'euros d'OAT, dans le haut de la fourchette visée, qui allait de 7 à 8 milliards d'euros.
Dans le détail, l'AFT a alloué pour 3,25 milliards d'euros d'OAT à deux ans, arrivant à échéance le 25 novembre 2015, à un taux moyen de 0,21%, contre 0,24% lors de l'adjudication du 18 avril. Le ratio de couverture est ressorti à 2,68, contre 2,24 pour la précédente opération de ce type.
L'AFT a également placé pour 1,1 milliard d'euros d'OAT à quatre ans, arrivant à maturité le 25 avril 2017, à un taux moyen de 0,49%, contre 0,74% le 17 janvier. Le ratio de couverture s'est établi à 2,64, contre 2,79.
Enfin, l'agence a placé pour 3,65 milliards d'euros d'OAT à cinq ans, arrivant à échéance le 25 mai 2018, à un taux moyen de 0,74%, contre 0,73% le 18 avril. Le ratio de couverture est de 1,95, contre 2,24.
-Emese Bartha, Dow Jones Newswires
(Version française Emilie Palvadeau)
By Emese Bartha
French funding costs were little changed at a government bond auction Thursday, with investors accepting near record-low yields amid mounting expectations that the euro zone's economic weakness will keep the region's interest rates under pressure for some time.
The French Treasury Agency sold 7,998 billion euros ($10,32 billion) in three government bonds, at the upper end of its EUR7 billion-EUR8 billion target range. The offer included the 0,25% November 2015 OAT, 3,75% April 2017 OAT and 1,00% May 2018 OAT. In contrast to the 2015 and 2018-dated OATs, the 2017-dated OAT is a non-benchmark bond and so isn't reopened on a regular basis any more.
The average yield on the November 2015 OAT was 0,21%, down from 0,24% at the previous auction a month ago, while the average yield on its May 2018 OAT ticked higher to 0,74% from a record low 0,73% at the previous auction, also in April. Analysts now expect France to launch its next series of five-year OATs at either the June or July auction.
"It is generally thought that France will be a major beneficiary of flows out of the Japanese government bond market due to its liquidity and decent [yield] pick-up," said Rabobank strategist Lyn Graham-Taylor.
The auction came a day after France announced that it had slipped into recession during the first three months of the year as its economy shrank for the second straight quarter. While a contraction was widely expected, "the increasing decline in firm investment in the first quarter 2013 is somewhat worrying," said HSBC economist Mathilde Lemoine.
"Therefore, [gross domestic product] should not recover from the second quarter 2013 in spite of the looser budgetary policy as quickly as we had previously forecast," Ms. Lemoine said.
Meanwhile, euro-zone GDP contracted for the sixth successive quarter in the first three months of the year.
The single currency area's subdued economic outlook may well keep the door open for more monetary easing from the European Central Bank, which may fuel demand for French debt at current low levels. Some investors, however, took a more pessimistic view of the French economy and its bonds.
"France has not attained even the slightest indication that they are moving toward economic growth or stability," said Jeffrey Sica, president and chief investment officer of Sica Wealth Management, which manages over $1 billion in assets.
Mr. Sica said he would consider the stability of the bond market in France to be mainly attributed to the massive monetary easing program in Japan that is expected to push cash from the country into foreign debt markets such as the euro zone. Any re-direction in stimulus there "will result in catastrophic declines in the bond market in France," he said.
The following are details of the auction with amounts in euros. Figures in brackets are from the previous auction on April 18 for the 2015 and 2018-dated OATs and Jan. 17 for the 2017-dated OAT.
Issue two-year OAT Maturity Nov. 25, 2015 Coupon 0,25% Bids received 8,700 bln Bids accepted 3,248 bln Bid-to-cover ratio 2,68 (2,24) Average yield 0,21% (0,24%) Average price 100,11 (100,04) Minimum price 100,10 (100,02) % of bids allocated at lowest price 90,00% (40,00%) Settlement day May 21, 2013 Issue four-year OAT Maturity April 25, 2017 Coupon 3,75% Bids received 4,000 bln Bids accepted 1,100 bln Bid-to-cover ratio 2,64 (2,79) Average yield 0,49% (0,74%) Average price 112,64 (112,56) Minimum price 112,63 (112,54) % of bids allocated at lowest price 100,00 (55,00%) Settlement day May 21, 2013 Issue five-year OAT Maturity May 25, 2018 Coupon 1,00% Bids received 7,120 bln Bids accepted 3,650 bln Bid-to-cover ratio 1,95 (2,24) Average yield 0,74% (0,73%) Average price 101,30 (101,37) Minimum price 101,28 (101,35) % of bids allocated at lowest price 100,00% (100,00%) Settlement day May 21, 2013
Write to Emese Bartha at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 16, 2013 06:52 ET (10:52 GMT)
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