By Tiago Pariz
SAO PAULO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Brazil's Treasury on Thursday paid the highest yield ever to launch a new 10-year benchmark fixed-rate domestic bond, underscoring investor concerns about the deterioration of the country's fiscal and economic fundamentals.
The Treasury said it sold two million NTN-F bonds maturing in January 2025, worth 1.64 billion reais ($683 million), at a yield as high as 13.3899 percent. The bond is expected to become Brazil's new 10-year benchmark paper.
The yield was considerably above Brazil's base Selic rate, currently 10 percent, but lower than some analysts had feared. Most economists forecast the central bank will raise the Selic to 10.25 percent this month to fight inflation.
The yield was also higher than the 11.55 percent the Treasury paid in 2012 at the launch of its previous 10-year NTN-F, and the 13.299 percent it paid in 2010 at the launch of an NTN-F maturing in 2021.
Still, the result was better than the 13.5 percent yield many analysts feared the Treasury would be forced to pay.
"It was lower than expected, but it's still a very high issuance cost for 10-year paper," said André Santoro, an analyst with Brasif fund manager. "It was a bad result and I don't think the government will be able to issue at yields much lower than these."
Investors have been demanding higher returns to buy Brazilian assets as heightened government spending, slow economic growth and persistently high inflation have greatly reduced the allure of Latin America's largest economy.
Fears that President Dilma Rousseff will be unwilling to cut back on spending in an election year have led many analysts to bet that Brazil's debt may be downgraded by at least one rating agency this year.