# Are government bond yields usually expressed as yield to maturity (YTM) or annual yield?

If US 10yr = 2%, does it mean if I hold the bond until maturity/for next 10 years the yield is 2% or I get an annual return of 2% for 10 years?

For example the yields in the link:

https://www.investing.com/rates-bonds/world-government-bonds

• The Yield to Maturity (and every interest rate) is always expressed on a "per year" basis, never as the return over the remaining maturity. So a 10 year with 2% YTM earns 2% per year if you buy it at the current price and hold until maturity. However different countries follow slightly different conventions in calculation of YTM. Feb 5 at 9:57
• ...which could make YTM's from various countries not quite comparable to each other. So some caution is needed in looking at the web site you mention. Feb 5 at 11:55
• ok thanks. Con you confirm if in general yields of gov bonds of major countries (i.e. G10) refer to YTM or return over the remaining maturity? I am a little confused now. In general when I look at yield data in investing.com, bloomberg, FT, what do they refer to (for example US 10yr now being around 1.1%)? Feb 5 at 21:37
• 1.1% for US 10 years means YTM of 1.1% per year, compounded semi-annually Feb 5 at 21:42
• ok makes sense now Feb 5 at 21:42

The yield to maturity of a bond $$y$$ is the constant annualised yield that you would receive if you buy the bond today at its current full price $$P$$ and hold it until maturity with the additional assumption that all of the coupon payments received over the life of the bond can be reinvested from the time received until maturity at this yield.
If it is 2% and $$T=10$$ years, then it implies that you get a 2% return every year for 10 years.
However, as we cannot know the future reinvestment yields today, there is no certainty that the yield-to-maturity $$y$$ will actually be realised and so we cannot know the exact yield to maturity in advance. Just see it as a best quick and dirty estimate.