It's a Low Rate World: Ritholtz Chart

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He blogs at the Big Picture and is the author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.”
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What's up -- or down, in this case -- with yields?

Yesterday, Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners sent me a Bloomberg table showing the 10-year bond yields for 20 developed nations.

Astonishingly, the U.S. comes in 16th. The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yields a little more than Norway and a little less than Spain.

I am not sure exactly what this means, but it seems worthy of further analysis.

Japanese bonds, as they have for most of my adult life, provide the lowest yield. The U.S. rate is a little more than 2.6 percent. In between are sovereign nations that all pay less than the U.S. This raises some very interesting questions.

Why is Ireland's yield lower than that of the U.S.? It can't be a function of credit worthiness; Germany and the European Union rescued Ireland not too long ago. Are all the EU member states piggybacking on Germany's credit? It doesn't appear so because Germany's 10-year bond is yielding a mere 1.4 percent.

If the Federal Reserve has sucked up so much fixed income paper that rates have become distorted, why are yields higher in the U.S. than in Europe? Is it possible that there isn't enough sovereign debt to go around?

Are global bond markets indicating an onset of deflation?

I don't know the answers. All I can tell you is that the chart above looks quite curious.

Anyone with a valid explanation should e-mail me or leave it in the comments below.

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