Gilts Drop Most This Year as GDP Reduces BOE Rate-Cut Wagers

  • Money markets show diminishing chance of rate cut next year
  • ‘Cloud of uncertainty’ hangs over sterling: Rabobank’s Foley

Does U.K. Data Scupper Any BOE Plans to Cut Rates?

U.K. bonds tumbled, driving up 10-year yields by the most since December, after faster-than-expected economic growth pushed investors to reassess how long monetary policy will remain ultra-loose.

Gilts led a global selloff after Thursday’s report left money markets showing virtually no chance of an interest-rate cut in the U.K. through the end of 2017, pushing up the 10-year gilt yields to the highest level since the country voted to leave the European Union. The data came two days after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said there were limits to officials’ willingness to look beyond an overshoot of their inflation target, signaling a chance that easing, including a bond-buying program, might not be expanded.

“The probability of a rate cut is greatly diminished,” said Craig Collins, managing director of rates trading at Bank of Montreal in London. “The GDP number came out stronger than expected and we managed to get some pretty decent support levels across the score on gilts, bunds and U.S. It wasn’t priced in at the next meeting anyway, but when you have a number like that it does reduce the expectations of a cut.”’

Benchmark 10-year gilt yields jumped 11 basis points, or 0.11 percentage point, to 1.27 percent as of 4:06 p.m. London time, after reaching 1.29 percent, the highest since June 23. The 1.5 percent security due July 2026 slid 1.056, or 10.56 pounds per 1,000-pound ($1,218) face amount, to 102.139. Two-year gilt yields climbed to as high as 0.33 percent, also the highest since June 23, the day of the Brexit vote.

Implied yields on short-sterling futures contracts climbed, as investors removed bets that the Bank of England will cut interest rates again to cushion the blow from the Brexit referendum.

Stimulus Outlook

While the bond market reflects diminishing concern that the British economy is losing enough momentum to require fresh stimulus, currency traders are more skeptical, as the country has yet to start the formal process of leaving the EU.

Confidence and economic expansion may be dented when Brexit is legally triggered. Until then, British politicians are proving divided on whether controlling immigration should come at the expense of maintaining the greatest access possible to the EU single market of about 500 million people.

The pound fell 0.5 percent to $1.2184, after a brief rally in the morning. With its 18 percent drop since June 23, sterling remains the worst performer among 31 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

“People have a preference to sell sterling into rallies,” said Jane Foley, a senior currency strategist at Rabobank International in London. “As long as the market is fearful of a hard Brexit, sterling is going to remain vulnerable. There’s still this cloud of uncertainty.”

— With assistance by Anooja Debnath

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