Spain Said to Sell 10 Billion Euros of Bonds as Yields Fall

Spain is selling 10 billion euros ($13.6 billion) of a new benchmark 10-year bond through banks, according to a person familiar with the transaction, as the nation’s borrowing costs approach seven-year lows.

The April 2024 security will be priced to yield 178 basis points over the mid-swap rate, according to the person, who isn’t authorized to speak about the deal and asked not to be identified. At a similar sale on May. 14, Spain sold 7 billion euros of bonds maturing in October 2023 at a yield of 278 basis points over the mid-swap rate.

Spain is fast-tracking bond sales amid a rally in the securities of European peripheral countries as their economies recover from the debt crisis that pushed borrowing costs up to euro-era records. The nation’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is counting on a recovery in the region’s fourth-largest economy to tackle a debt load that will generate a record level of redemptions this year.

Barclays Plc, BBVA SA, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Santander GBM and Societe Generale SA were mandated for the syndicated sale, people familiar with the arrangements said.

“Spain looks to be on a recovery process and the consolidation of its fiscal conditions seem to have worked its way on the real economy,” Annalisa Piazza, a senior fixed-income strategist at Newedge Group in London, wrote in an e-mailed note. “Demand was very solid” at the sale, she wrote.

Falling Yields

The yield on Spain’s bond due in October 2023, the current benchmark, fell three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 3.71 percent at 3:20 p.m. in London. Ten-year yields dropped to 3.64 percent on Jan. 20, the least since 2006. They reached a euro-era high of 7.75 percent in July 2012, when Spain risked losing access to financial markets.

The yield difference versus similar-maturity German bunds narrowed four basis points to 195 basis points today after contracting to 175 basis points on Jan. 9, the narrowest spread since April 2011.

“Spain is an example of the markets liking countries that implement reforms,” said Alberto Gallo, head of European macro-credit research at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London. “Spain and Ireland are experiencing a stronger recovery than France or Italy because they have implemented more reforms.”

Spanish Growth

Rajoy said this month that growth accelerated to about 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter from 0.1 percent in the previous three-month period. The government forecasts an expansion of at least 0.7 percent this year.

The Madrid-based Treasury this month auctioned three-year and five-year notes at the lowest yields on record. Ireland sold bonds for the first time since completing its bailout program and Portugal’s Secretary of State for Treasury Isabel Castelo Branco said the country expects to restart bond auctions before its bailout program ends in the middle of May.

Spain’s Treasury, which returns to the markets next week to sell three- and nine-month bills, said yesterday it had covered 9.1 percent of its total planned issuance of medium- and long-term debt for the year.

Spain’s bonds returned 13 percent in the 12 months through yesterday, according to Bloomberg World Bond Indexes. Italy’s rose 7.3 percent and Germany’s gained 0.4 percent.

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