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Investors pay Germany to look after their money

Zero coupon bond sold for a yield of 0.07 per cent.

The German government has sold €4.5bn of two-year government bonds at a record low yield of just 0.07 per cent. Not only that, but the bond was sold with a zero coupon, for the first time, meaning that a €100 bond now will pay out €100 in 2014.

Inflation in Germany was 2.3 per cent over 2011, which means that bondholders are, in essence, paying the German government a little under €5 for every €100 worth of bonds that they buy.

The rush to safe assets has been prompted by fear of Greece's seemingly impending exit from the euro, as well as the economic hardships being suffered by Spain and Italy. Investors won't come close to buying debt from those countries, so countries like the UK, USA and Germany, the safest of them all, are suffering a glut of money.

The situtation is obviously less-than-optimal. Investors, rather than putting their money to work, would rather pay the few entities guaranteed not to go under to hold the cash for them.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.