The U.K. failed to find enough buyers for 1.75 billion pounds ($2.55 billion) of bonds for the first time in almost seven years as debt investors repudiated Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s plan to stem the worst economic crisis in three decades.
Gilts slumped after the London-based Debt Management Office, which manages bond auctions on behalf of the Treasury, said investors bid for 1.63 billion pounds of the 40-year securities. The last time the U.K. government was unable to attract enough investors was in 2002 when it tried to sell 30- year inflation-protected bonds. The yield on the 4.5 percent gilt due 2049 rose 10 basis points to 4.55 percent.
Brown’s government aims to sell a record 146.4 billion pounds of debt this fiscal year and as much as 147.9 billion pounds in 2010 as he tries to pull Europe’s second-largest economy out of its worst recession since 1980. The prime minister’s plan drew criticism yesterday when Bank of England Governor Mervyn King told lawmakers in Parliament in London the government should be “cautious” about spending and deficits.
“This is a warning signal investors are sending to the government,” said Neil Mackinnon, chief economist at hedge fund ECU Group Plc in London, who helps manage about $1 billion in assets and is a former U.K. Treasury official. “Investors are giving the thumbs down to the gilt market.”
The yield on the 10-year gilt rose five basis points to 3.38 percent by 2:15 p.m. in London. The 4.5 percent note due March 2019 slid 0.42, or 4.2 pounds per 1,000-pound face amount, to 109.44. The yield on the two-year note rose three basis points to 1.28 percent. Yields move inversely to bond prices.