AFME Government Bond Data Report Q4 2023 and 2023FY | AFME

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Data Research
AFME Government Bond Data Report Q4 2023 and 2023FY
27 Mar 2024
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Author Julio Suarez Director
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Report highlights include:



  • EU Member States and the UK issued EUR 743 bn in bonds and bills throughout 4Q23, which represents a decrease of 13% (QoQ) compared to 3Q23, and a decrease of 6% (YoY) compared to 4Q22. The UK had the largest nominal increase in total (bond and bill) issuance in 2023, with volumes up 47%. In Austria, volumes issued during 2023 represent the highest annual issuance in any year to date in the Austrian sovereign market.


  • In 2023FY, European government bond trading increased 17% compared to 2022 and 35% compared to 2021, according to TraX data from MarketAxess. The traded amount in 2023FY was the highest average daily trading volume in European government bonds since records began in 2014, following consistently high trading volumes reported in all quarters of 2023. During 4Q 2023, European quarterly traded volumes increased 8% (QoQ) and increased 29% (YoY).


  • Outstanding amount of European ESG government bonds reached EUR 441.6 bn during 4Q23. Volumes were driven by new green bonds issued by the Netherlands (EUR 5.2 bn) and Denmark (EUR 1.4 bn) and tap issuance by the UK (EUR 6.1 bn), the European Commission (EUR 4.7 bn), France (EUR 3.5 bn), Spain (EUR 2.0 bn), Italy (EUR 1.7 bn) and Belgium (EUR 0.8 bn). Austria issued an additional EUR 1.9 bn in green bills during 4Q23.


  • There was a net gain of 1 primary dealer in Europe from October 2023 to January 2024. There were 4 exits and 5 entries of banks to European Primary Dealer systems affecting sovereign debt markets in 5 countries and the European Commission Primary Dealer Network (EU PDN).


  • During 4Q23 there were 3 long-term credit rating upgrades and 1 downgrade for European countries. This follows 3 upgrades and 1 downgrade in 3Q23, and 2 upgrades and 1 downgrade in both 2Q23 and 1Q23, bringing the 2023 full-year total to 10 upgrades and 4 downgrades. Most recently during 1Q24, Portugal has been upgraded by one notch and is now rated A-, which represents the strongest credit rating the country has held since 2010.


  • The average bid-cover ratio (demand/amount allocated) was 2.2 in 4Q23, an increase of 7.7% (QoQ) from 3Q23 and an increase of 9.3% from 4Q22 (YoY).