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New Zealand Government Bonds - through the pandemic and beyond

Wednesday 6th December 2023

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New Zealand Government Bonds (NZGBs) are issued by New Zealand Debt Management (NZDM) on behalf of the New Zealand Government. Part of the New Zealand Treasury, NZDM issues these bonds with the objective of minimising the Crown’s borrowing costs over the long term with due consideration to risk. 


In addition to its importance for funding government spending, the NZGB market is also critical for transmitting changes in the Monetary Policy Committee’s monetary policy settings, because the yield on government bonds serve as a benchmark for yields on other assets.


The NZGB market has undergone significant structural changes over recent years with the COVID-19 pandemic being a catalyst for a number of these developments. 


This Bulletin discusses developments in the NZGB market through 3 broad time periods. We start by discussing how extreme economic uncertainty due to the onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to a broad deterioration in the functioning of sovereign bond markets. During this period, bond markets were not operating normally, making it difficult to execute trades and leading to highly volatile price movements. In response, many central banks, including the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, announced new policy measures that were successful in restoring the functioning of these markets and easing financial conditions. 


We then discuss developments in the NZGB market as monetary stimulus was reduced in mid-2021, following improving economic activity and rising inflation as COVID-19 restrictions were gradually eased. Finally, we discuss how the NZGB market has responded to the significant increase in yields and net supply of NZGBs since the second half of 2021, finding that the market has continued to function well in the face of these significant shifts.

New Zealand Government Bonds – through the pandemic and beyond

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