U.K. Corporate Borrowing Costs Fall to Record on Stimulus Bets

Borrowing costs for U.K. companies have fallen to a record on investor speculation the Bank of England will boost stimulus to cushion the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The average yield on sterling-denominated investment-grade bonds has fallen to 2.77 percent and the relative cost of borrowing in pounds instead of euros narrowed to the least in 10 months, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. Borrowing costs have been dragged down by sharp declines in benchmark government bond yields.

BOE Governor Mark Carney was due to meet rate-setting policy makers Wednesday as he seeks to shore up financial stability after the June 23 Brexit vote roiled global markets and sent sterling to a 31-year low. Officials also promised 250 billion pounds ($325 billion) in emergency funds, relaxed capital requirements for lenders and pledged to implement any other measures necessary.

“The market is pricing rate cuts in the U.K. possibly to zero and some kind of quantitative easing,” said Paola Binns, a portfolio manager at Royal London Asset Management in London, which oversees about 85 billion pounds. “There has been some buying from overseas buyers, possibly because of the falls in sterling, and this has been supportive for corporate-bond pricing.”

The yield on the 10-year gilt slid to a record-low 0.729 percent on Wednesday and that on the five-year bond fell to 0.273 on July 1. The BOE has kept interest rates at a record low 0.5 percent since 2009 and bought 375 billion pounds of bonds as part of a stimulus plan to boost the economy after the global financial crisis.

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