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UK sells new 50-year inflation-linked bond with record-low yield

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: British five pound banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/ Benoit Tessier/Illustration

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain sold 1.1 billion pounds ($1.47 billion) of a new index-linked gilt maturing in 2073 on Tuesday, which will pay investors a record-low inflation-adjusted yield for a bond sold via a syndication.

The nominal value sold was the lowest of any gilt syndication since at least 2005, after the country scaled back its 2021/22 issuance plans. But the amount raised will be higher as investors bought the gilt at several times its par value.

Demand for index-linked gilts is generally high due to appetite from British pension funds and insurers who need to hold the debt to match long-term inflation-linked liabilities such as future pension payments.

Index-linked debt has drawn greater demand in recent months due to a surge in inflation that has pushed down inflation-adjusted yields to record lows.

Retail price inflation, which is used as the basis for British index-linked gilts, jumped to a 30-year high of 6.0% last month, and typically runs around a percentage point above the consumer price inflation targeted by the Bank of England.

The transaction attracted more than 17.5 billion pounds of orders, and sold at a real yield of -2.3883%, meaning investors will receive a return 2.3883 percentage points below the prevailing rate of retail price inflation.

This is the lowest real yield of any index-linked gilt sold via syndication and 3.5 basis points below the current yield of the benchmark March 2068 index-linked gilt .

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A regular auction of 10-year index-linked bonds earlier this month had a record-low real yield of -3.242%.

Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility cut its cash borrowing forecasts for 2021/22 by 83 billion pounds last month, prompting the Debt Management Office to reduce gilt sales for the remainder of the financial year by 58 billion pounds.

The volume of gilts sold on Tuesday was far below the record 12 billion pounds sold at a syndication of a 10-year conventional gilt in May 2020, when Britain was rushing to raise funds at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new index-linked gilt has a coupon of 0.125% and will mature in March 2073, making it the longest-dated index-linked gilt in issue. The March 2068 index-linked gilt had a longer maturity when it was first issued in 2013.

($1 = 0.7477 pounds)

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