A wave of turmoil is sweeping through sovereign bond markets, setting off the most dramatic gyrations seen in recent years and threatening to spill over into over-heated equity markets. Yields on German 10-year Bunds spiked violently by almost 20 basis points to 0.78pc in early trading on Thursday as funds scrambled to unwind the so-called “QE trade” in Europe, with powerful ripple effects reaching Japan, Australia, Brazil and even US Treasuries.

“It is absolute pandemonium in the fixed income markets,” said Andrew Roberts, head of European credit at RBS. “Everybody has been trying to get out of long-duration positions at the same time but the door is getting smaller.” German yields fell back just as fast to 0.58pc later, as bargain-hunters came back into the European debt markets, but are still unrecognisable from the historic lows of 0.07pc two weeks ago.

Ructions of this magnitude are extremely rare in government bond markets. Investors are nursing almost half a trillion dollars in paper losses in two weeks, a staggering sum in what is supposed to be a rock-solid repository for institutional investors. MORE