Germany is the latest country that investors are paying to lend it money.
As it sold 3.9 billion euros worth of short term government bonds, Berlin paid a negative return for the first time.
Investors are so worried about other countries defaulting and not repaying what they have borrowed that they are prepared to accept not getting any interest in return for their money being in a safe place.
While yields on the bonds of peripheral euro zone countries have hit record highs in recent months on concerns about the debt crisis, Germany’s yields have fallen to record lows.
On Monday they went negative for the first time at a regular auction, sliding to -0.0122 percent compared with a positive return of 0.001 percent at a similar auction in December.
“In such uncertain times, return of money beats return on money,” said Unicredit analyst Kornelius Purps.
Demand at Monday’s auction was solid, with the sale drawing bids worth 1.8 times the amount on offer, Bundesbank data showed.
Late in December investors paid Denmark’s government to lend it short-term funds for the first time.