Investors Pay to Lend Money to EFSF Bailout Fund

Investors accepted negative interest rates again to lend money to the EU's bailout fund on Tuesday, according to the German central bank, which managed the issue.

The Bundesbank said in a statement that the European Financial Stability Facility placed 1.499 billion ($1.9 billion) euros' worth of six-month bills at a yield of minus 0.0179 percent, compared with minus 0.0113 percent at the previous auction in July.

A negative yield means that investors actually pay the EFSF to lend it money.

Demand for the issue was strong, with investors bidding for a total 3.853 billion euros worth of bonds, bringing the so-called cover ratio to 2.6.

While the bond markets are punishing the likes of Spain and Italy, pushing their borrowing costs sky-high, the bailout fund has continued to attract solid demand.

The EFSF, which was established with a total lending capacity of 440 billion euros, is due to be replaced eventually by a permanent rescue fund called the European Stability Mechanism, with 500 billion euros of firepower.

The ESM was due to come into force on July 1, but it has suffered delays, notably due to legal challenges in Germany.

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