The universe of government bonds with negative-yields continues to swell.
The total amount of debt with yields below zero stands at around $11.8 trillion as of June 17, according to Bloomberg data This amount however doesn’t take into account Tuesday’s global bond-market rally, which helped push more eurozone benchmark debt into negative yield territory.
The ballooning value of subzero-yielding debt reflects how global bond markets continue to attract inflows from jittery investors who see few ports of shelter as a U.S.-China trade war threatens to roil international growth.
Vanishing sources of potential income could push foreign investors into higher-returning assets like corporate debt in the U.S., driving a longstanding hunt-for-yield that has helped support values for riskier fixed-income assets and kept corporate bond spreads narrow, said Julien Scholnick, a fixed-income portfolio manager at Western Asset Management.
“Our bias is to fade those very negative-yielding markets and put more money to work in higher-yielding markets,” he said.
See: Amount of global debt yielding less than 0% approaching $10 trillion
After the 2008 global financial crisis, central banks pulled out all the stops to revive the global economy. In particular, analysts say the use of ultra-low interest rates and bond-buying programs by the world’s major central banks including the ECB, BOJ and the Federal Reserve have helped push long-term government bond yields to record lows and sometimes even negative levels.
That power was on full display again on Tuesday when ECB President Mario Draghi said he could loosen monetary policy further if inflation refused to budge higher. Soon after, eurozone bond markets surged and yields plunged.
Read: ‘Currency war’ fears rise as Trump slams Draghi’s hint at more ECB stimulus
The German 10-year government bond yield TMBMKDE-10Y, -31.02% pushed deeper into subzero territory to trade at a record low negative yield of 32 basis points. Benchmark yields for the Austrian TMBMKFR-10Y, -91.58% bond market also followed suit, falling below zero for the first time in history, Tradeweb data show.
A growing number of market participants now anticipate yields for government paper will remain at lower levels as aging demographics and rising debt loads weigh on long-term growth and inflation.
“Interest rates are generally going to be lower for longer, there’s not a lot of catalysts that we can think of for interest rates to move meaningfully higher,” Margaret Steinbach, a fixed-income specialist at Capital Group, told MarketWatch.