Eurozone long-dated government bonds are currently showing more promise to fixed-income investors and money managers than U.S. Treasuries even though the European Central Bank is dialing down its pandemic emergency purchase program.
That's because investors with global bond portfolios are expecting that U.S. growth will return to pre-pandemic levels sooner than in Europe, resulting in the Federal Reserve ending its quantitative easing program as early as next year and hiking interest rates. Conversely, the ECB's governing council's decision on Sept. 9 to "moderately" reduce its pandemic asset purchases is foreshadowing that any rate increases in Europe would not materialize for a few years.
Due to this prospect, investors and managers are favoring long-dated eurozone bonds in their fixed-income portfolios and are underweight long-dated U.S. Treasuries. They anticipate eurozone bond yields, which have been trending higher this year, will grow less sharply than their U.S. counterparts in the next months.
"There is still a divergence between the ECB and the U.S. Fed, which is close to starting to normalize its policy," said Ann-Katrin Petersen, Frankfurt-based vice president and investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors, in a telephone interview. "And this divergence will become even more pronounced in the months to come," she added.