Zero Rate Environment

20 years ago the yield on 10 year government bonds was close to 7% p.a. in the U.S., 6% in Germany and over 4% in Switzerland. Those who invested 10 years ago in a portfolio of Treasury bonds that expire this year were able to lock in annual yields of roughly 5% in the U.S., 4% in Germany and close to 3% in Switzerland. However fast forward ten years to today the picture looks entirely different. Current yields are close to zero or even negative. 10 year Swiss government bonds are currently yielding -0.30% p.a. (before tax and commission). Ultimately as an investor you’re paying for the privilege of loaning money to the Swiss government. In Germany the situation is only slightly better with the 10 year Bunds yielding 0.2% p.a. Only in the U.S. with an annual yield of 1.9% the situation is somewhat more favorable (as seen in the below chart).

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