Bloomberg comments on the Unstoppable Surge in Negative Yields.

The global stock of negative-yielding debt is now in excess of $17 trillion as rising market volatility lends extra force to this year’s unprecedented bond rally.

Thirty percent of all investment-grade securities now bear sub-zero yields, meaning that investors who acquire the debt and hold it to maturity are guaranteed to make a loss. Yet buyers are still piling in, seeking to benefit from further increases in bond prices and favorable cross-currency hedging rates—or at least to avoid greater losses elsewhere.

The negative-yield phenomenon is turning financial markets on their head—raising the specter of a bond bubble, draining pension funds of a valuable source of income and incentivizing riskier companies to mortgage their assets. At the same time, banks are having to reassure citizens that they won’t suddenly start charging customers to store their money.

Negative-Yielding Debt On December 31, 2018

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The article has a nice autoplay month-by-month graphic of the rise of negative-yielding debt.

Since December 31, 2018

  • Negative-yielding debt in the Americas has fallen from $332.4 billion to $40.3 billion, a decline of $291.1 billion.
  • Negative-yielding debt worldwide has risen from $8.3 trillion to $17.0 trillion, an increase of $8.7 trillion.

30% of investment-grade (non-junk) debt now has a negative yield.

Amazing.

This is of course an amazing bubble. But for now, there is no catalyst to pop it.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock