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Euro area sovereign bond risk premia during the Covid-19 pandemic

We decompose euro area sovereign bond yields into five distinct components: i) expected future short-term risk-free rates and a term premium, ii) default risk premium, iii) redenomination risk premium, iv) liquidity risk premium, and a v) segmentation (convenience) premium. Identification is achieved by considering sovereign bond yields jointly with other rates, including sovereign credit default swap spreads with and without redenomination as a credit event feature. We apply our framework to study the impact of European Central Bank (ECB) monetary policy and European Union (E.U.) fiscal policy announcements during the Covid-19 pandemic recession. We find that both monetary and fiscal policy announcements had a pronounced effect on yields, mostly through default, redenomination, and segmentation premia. While the ECB’s unconventional monetary policy announcements benefited some (vulnerable) countries more than others, owing to unprecedented flexibility in implementing bond purchases, the E.U.’s fiscal policy announcements lowered yields more uniformly.