Low cut-off yield sees newly-launched 10-yr bond devolve in second auction

Topics Bonds | RBI

The auction was part of Rs 26,000 crore auction to be raised through three bonds.
The freshly launched 10-year bond witnessed its first devolvement on Friday as the markets asked for higher yields than what the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was comfortable in the offering.

Of the Rs 14,000 crore on offer on the new bond, the central bank made the primary dealers, or the underwriters of the bonds, buy Rs 11,144.145 crore. This was the second auction of this particular bond, which was launched a fortnight back on July 9.  

The cut-off yield came at around 6.15 per cent in the auction. The yields of this benchmark 10-year bond yield closed at 6.165 per cent in the market.

The auction was part of Rs 26,000 crore auction to be raised through three bonds. Besides selling most of the 10 year bond to the underwriters, the RBI also exercised a greenshoe option of Rs 3,000 crore on two other bonds on offer.

The coupon on the bond was 6.10 per cent when it was launched. At that time, bond dealers had said the RBI was finally reconciling with the fact that bond yields have inched up higher everywhere and it must give in to the market demand for higher yields, instead of trying to keep the 10-year bond yields at around 6 per cent.

The bond yields had cooled off rapidly after the RBI Governor told Business Standard in an interview on July 7 that the central bank would look through inflation for now and keep the monetary policy accommodative for as long as necessary before it sees signs of durable growth. The May inflation print at 6.30 per cent, and subsequent June numbers at 6.26 per cent, could have been transitory and should correct by the third quarter, the RBI governor had said in the interview.

However, the bond yields have started rising again after remaining soft for some time.  Part of the reason could be RBI’s acceptance of higher yields, and then, the pattern seen in RBI’s G-SAP auctions on Thursday, through which it buys bonds from the secondary market to infuse liquidity.  

“In the G-SAP on Thursday, the market sold 9 year paper to the RBI at 6.50 per cent, and 8-year paper at 6.33 per cent. Now, if the 8 and 9-year papers are getting traded at 6.3-6.5 range, how can the 10-year paper stay at 6.10 per cent yield level,” said a senior bond dealer with a bank.

“The root cause is that there is no view in the market, and nobody wants to take duration risk these days. The liquidity in the new 10-year paper is also low, and so there is a huge chance of getting stuck if liquidity doesn’t scale up fast. So, the market is not as interested in the 10-year bond as it used to be,” said the dealer requesting anonymity.  

The market also doesn’t expect the RBI to conduct G-SAP buying on the new 10-year bonds anytime soon. The G-SAP, if at all, will likely be conducted on illiquid papers and not on the benchmark ones, the market expects. That also has brought down interest in these bonds.  

As happens in any market, the bond investors could also be plain trying their luck by pushing the RBI to gauge its limits.

“There is no immediate trigger for pushing up the yields, except, maybe, rising crude prices. What really could be happening is that the market is testing the RBI’s tolerance level. Every devolvement comes as a signal, and this should also work to allow the yields to settle around the cut-off level for now,” said another senior bond dealer


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