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Israel Bond Yield Rises on Iran Risk, ECB; Shekel Little Changed

Israeli government bonds fell, pushing the yield to the highest in more than two months, amid concern the country may strike Iran and as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policy makers agreed to an unlimited bond-purchase program.

The yield on the benchmark 5.5 Mimshal Shiklit bond due January 2022 climbed four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 4.3 percent, the highest since July 1, at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. The yield rose eight basis points this week. The shekel was little changed at 4.025 a dollar, near the lowest in a week, at 5:50 p.m. in Tel Aviv.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday he broke up a meeting of his Security Cabinet in Jerusalem because of a leak that led to a newspaper report on secret deliberations about a possible attack on Iran. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been engaged in a debate with the U.S. over the need for an air strike against the nuclear facilities in which Iran is enriching uranium.

U.S. treasuries and German bunds extended declines after Draghi announced the program to regain control of interest rates in the euro area and fight speculation of a currency breakup. The yield on Israel’s benchmark bond reached as much as 4.33 percent during Draghi’s speech, before returning to levels seen earlier in the day.

Rate Expectations

One-year interest-rate swaps, an indicator of investor expectations for rates over the period, rose two basis points, or 0.02 of a percentage point, to 2.16 percent. The two-year break-even rate, the yield difference between the inflation-linked bonds and fixed-rate government bonds of similar maturity, declined four basis points to 277, implying an average annual inflation rate of 2.77 percent.

The Tel Aviv Bond 40 Index, which measures inflation-linked and fixed-rate corporate bonds, lost 0.4 percent to 264.41.

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