Japan’s 10-year bond yield fell briefly to zero per cent for the first time since November as US Treasury yields plunged on weak economic data, while tensions over North Korea and uncertainty over France’s presidential election buoyed safe-haven demand. The benchmark yield rose back to 0.005% before the Bank of Japan conducted its regular bond buying operation where it maintained the purchase amount for 5-to-10-year maturities at 450 billion yen ($4.1 billion). The central bank had boosted that figure from 410 billion yen in late January when yields rose towards 0.1%. Treasury 10-year yields fell eight basis points on Tuesday to a five-month low of 2.17%. Bloomberg
Oil prices drop on US market, Saudi signal
Oil prices fell on Wednesday as bloated US supplies weighed on markets, while a drop in Saudi crude exports was offset by rising production in the country. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil, were at $54.77 per barrel at 0354 GMT, down 12 US cents from their last close. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 9 US cents at $52.32 a barrel. “Crude oil prices were slightly weaker as the focus turned back to US inventories and output,” ANZ Bank said on Wednesday. Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday showed that US markets remained bloated. Although crude inventories fell by 840,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the week to 14 April to 531.6 million barrels, still close to record highs, gasoline stocks rose by 1.4 million barrels as refinery crude oil runs increased by 334,000 bpd, said API. Reuters
Non-financial disclosures important, say investors
Investors are increasingly giving greater importance to non-financial disclosures such as environmental, social and governance practices of publicly traded companies. Around 68% of the 320 institutional investors surveyed by consulting firm EY said that non-financial information played a pivotal role frequently or occasionally in their decision-making in 2016. This is a notable improvement from 52% in 2015. Apart from corporate governance, climate and environmental risks are said to have gained weight among investors last year. “Investors increasingly see that by understanding these risks and benefits, they can avoid the downside and embrace the upside in a valuation that flows from non-financial business activities,” EY said in the report.