Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

South African government bonds were weaker on Monday afternoon, as the benchmark US 10-year hovered just below the crucial 3% level.

The local market was following the softer rand, which earlier fell to its weakest level in three months against the dollar, as the latter firmed against most hard and emerging-market currencies.

The yield on the US 10-year treasury settled at 2.949% late Friday in New York, its highest level since January 2014.

Fund managers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in April said they viewed 3.5% as the yield level that would cause investors to rotate from equities back into bonds, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Eric Robertsen, global head of forex, rates and credit research at Standard Chartered, said the rising 10-year yield came as higher commodity prices lifted inflation expectations.

Expectations have increased of faster US Federal Reserve monetary-policy tightening, analysts say, as there is concern that US inflation could overshoot the Fed’s target of 2%, amid surging oil prices.

Higher US yields place pressure on local bonds, as the US market becomes more attractive for investors due to its lower risk profile.

At 3pm the R186 was bid at 8.14% from 8.025% and the R207 at 7.04% from 6.925%.

The rand was at R12.2388 to the dollar from R12.0596.

The US 10-year was last seen at 2.9654%, from 2.9607%, after reaching 2.9962% in intraday trade.