Ireland's borrowing costs showed little reaction today to election results that point to a shift in its centre-right dominated politics.

A mounting coronavirus death toll pushed euro zone bond yields lower today, while Italy was also in focus after rating agency Fitch maintained its negative outlook on the country's BBB credit rating.

Fitch noted Italy's political fragmentation, high net external debt and weak banking sector asset quality.

Sinn Féin secured the largest share of votes in the election, in what is being seen as a seismic shift from the country's century-old, centre-right duopoly. 

While Sinn Féin said it wanted to form a government with other parties, Fianna Fáil has already dismissed talk of a coalition with it as "completely premature". 

While the outcome sent shares in Irish banks tumbling as much as 7% in earlier trade, 10-year sovereign bond yields slipped 1.5 basis point on the day at -0.12%.

Analysts said the European Central Bank's asset purchase programme alongside Ireland's own robust growth backdrop were insulating it from the threat of political uncertainty. 

"Beyond politics, fundamentals, supply and near-term Brexit certainty should all be a boost for Irish bonds," Natwest analysts said. 

Broader market focus remains trained on the spread of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization's top emergency expert said there had been a stabilisation in the number of new cases reported from the epicentre of the virus in recent days. 

"We would expect the safe-haven safety bid to fade a bit, Commerzbank strategist Rainer Guntermann said, predicting volatile trading in the coming days.


Despite a stabilisation in the rate of new infections, the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surpassed the global SARS epidemic of 2003 and continues to raise concerns about the growth outlook in China. 

Fears that China would not be able to contain the outbreak sent euro zone investor morale lower for the first time in four months in February, the Sentix index showed.