The government sold euro 1.975 billion ($2.47 billion) in treasury bills Monday with an average yield of minus 0.0246 percent.
It’s happened several times. Germany sold one-year bills in July at minus 0.054 percent.
The negative rates mean investors get back slightly less money than they invest. It’s a price some are willing to pay to put money in safe-haven bonds that have little risk of not being paid back in the climate of fear created by the eurozone debt crisis.
Troubled Spain is paying over 3 percent for one-year borrowing, reflecting fears of default.