Politics 31 July 2012 The reverse-sovereign-debt-crisis hits businesses, too Now Unilever and Texas Instruments are the new safe havens. Print HTML It has long been clear that the world is experiencing, in the words of Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal, "the opposite of a sovereign debt crisis". Governments, seen as one of the last safe havens for money in the world, have experienced collapsing bond yields, leading them, in many cases, to be paid to borrow money. This is partly borne out of fear of another banking crisis, but it's also due to a complete failure on the part of businesses to actually find anything to do with their record cash hauls. As tech investor Peter Thiel put it in a conversation with Google's Eric Schmidt: Google is a great company. It has 30,000 people, or 20,000, whatever the number is. They have pretty safe jobs. On the other hand, Google also has 30, 40, 50 billion in cash. It has no idea how to invest that money in technology effectively. So, it prefers getting zero percent interest from Mr. Bernanke, effectively the cash sort of gets burned away over time through inflation, because there are no ideas that Google has how to spend money. There was always going to be a limit to even what these risk-fearing companies were willing to accept when it came to negative yields, however, and the question was what would happen when they hit that floor. Now we have our answer. Joe Weisenthal: Unilever, the large European food conglomerate, just sold $550 million worth of 5-year notes with a coupon of just 0.85 percent. According to Bloomberg, this is the lowest ever borrowing cost for U.S. debt. . . And just like that, Texas Instrument has broken a record for the lowest coupon on 3-year debt at just 0.45 percent according to Bloomberg. When sovereign debt gets too expensive, then corporations the size of sovereigns become the new safe haven. Where will it end? › Why Sunday trading laws must return after the Olympics This chart, from the St Louis Federal Reserve, shows the average yield on Aaa rated corporate bonds. Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter. Subscribe More Related articles Leader: On capitalism and insecurity No economy is an island: why Britain's finances now depend on Europe Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Philip Hammond as Chancellor mean for policy?