Convergence and anchoring of yield curves in the euro area
We study the convergence of European bond markets and the anchoring of inflation expectations in the euro area from 1993 to 2008, using high-frequency bond yield data for France, Germany, Italy, and Spain; some smaller euro-area countries; and a control group comprising the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden. We find that Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) led to substantial convergence in euro-area sovereign bond markets in terms of interest rate levels, unconditional daily fluctuations, and conditional responses to major macroeconomic announcements. Our findings also suggest a substantial increase in the anchoring of long-term inflation expectations since EMU, particularly for Italy and Spain. Finally, we present evidence that the elimination of exchange rate risk and the adoption of a common monetary policy were the primary drivers of bond market convergence in the euro area, as opposed to fiscal policy and the loose exchange rate peg of the 1990s.