Yes, you read that right. The Department of Finance sold $1.5 billion in 50-year bonds on Monday, just hours after announcing it was considering the move. Before this week, the longest-term bond ever issued by the Government of Canada was 30 years.
“In the current environment, it is both advantageous and prudent for our government to lock in additional long-term funding,” said Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver in a press release. “This 50-year bond will help us meet our goal of raising stable and low-cost funding to meet Canada’s financial needs and best serve taxpayers.”
That’s an understatement. The bond provides investors just a 2.96% yield, a figure reflective of the current low-interest rate environment. It matures on Dec. 1, 2064.
That’s just a couple of days shy of my 98th birthday, in case you were wondering.
Who ponied up the $1.5 billion? I can’t say for sure, but it’s expected that institutional investors such as insurance companies and pension funds are likely buyers. Those organizations count on long-term debt instruments to provide a regular stream of steady income with which they can meet their obligations to insurance policy-holders and pension plan members. Would they like a higher yield? Sure, but they’ll take what they can get in the interest of stability.