DEBT ISSUE

Average yields rise slightly at Spanish Treasury auction

Debt-management agency sells 3.51 billion euros in short-term paper

Average yields at the Spanish Treasury’s auction of bills on Tuesday rose slightly, breaking a downward trend in borrowing costs over the past few months sparked by ample international liquidity.

The debt-management arm of the Economy Ministry sold 3.51 billion euros in three- and nine-month bills, 10 million more than its maximum target of 3.5 billion. It sold 2.619 billion euros in nine-month paper, with the average yield rising to 0.789 percent from 0.787 percent. It placed a further 892 million euros in three-month paper as the average yield rose to 0.331 percent from 0.120 percent at a tender held on April 23.

Demand for the three-month issue exceeded the amount sold by 4.3 times, while the bid-to-cover ratio for the longer-dated issue was 2.2 times.

“It was a good tender, but without surprises,” Reuters quoted Madrid-based Citigroup strategist José Luis Martínez as saying. “Rates rose a little, but they were already very low and there is little room left for further falls.”

The Treasury has issued debt worth 110.5 billion euros in debt this year, slightly less than half of its target for the full year of 230 billion.

Spain’s total outstanding public debt at the end of March stood at 923.311 billion euros, the highest figure in over a decade. That was equivalent to 87.8 percent of GDP.