India 10-year bond yield at 20-month high; cenbank support eyed

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Reserve Bank of India logo is seen at the gate of its office in New Delhi

By Swati Bhat

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's benchmark 10-year bond yield rose to its highest level since April last year as investors grew cautious of the heavy government debt pipeline, rise in global oil prices and lack of direct support from the central bank.

Traders said the absence of a new 10-year bond as part of the papers on sale at the upcoming debt auction on Friday also weighed on sentiment as the outstanding stock on the existing benchmark is already at 1.48 trillion rupees ($19.77 billion).

India is selling bonds worth 240 billion rupees, including 130 billion rupees of 10-year paper on Friday. Traditionally, the government has issued a new bond when the existing paper has reached an outstanding of around 1.5 trillion rupees.

The benchmark 10-year bond yield was at 6.49% by 0710 GMT, after touching 6.50%, its highest since April 13, 2020.

"Sentiment has turned somewhat despite dovish RBI (Reserve Bank of India) commentary," said Suyash Choudhary, head of fixed income at IDFC Asset Management Company.

"This is largely on account of two reasons: the shorter term variable rate reverse repo auctions which have further driven up yield on effective overnight deployment by banks and the secondary market selling of government bonds by RBI."

The central bank held rates steady earlier in the month, saying it would remain accommodative to support a recovery amid rising COVID-19 cases driven by the new Omicron variant of the virus.

The RBI sold 20.35 billion rupees under open market operations in the week to Dec. 17, it said in its weekly statistical supplement released on Friday.

Traders said the rising global oil prices, heavy supply of bonds at the weekly auctions and high domestic retail inflation will all sustain the upward pressure on yields.

Oil prices extended gains on Tuesday, trading near the previous day's one-month high on hopes that the Omicron variant will have a limited impact on fuel demand. [O/R]

Traders are expecting the central bank to come in with some form of support to help the market ahead of the debt sale on Friday.

($1 = 74.8425 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Swati Bhat; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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