The conditions seem ripe for another robust year in the European bond market. The region’s debt crisis has eased significantly in recent months and the European Central Bank appears determined to keep interest rates at today’s extraordinarily low levels, if not cut them further. The only thing lacking is supply.

The bond market has gotten off to a comparatively sluggish start since the beginning of the year. Companies had made 23 bond issues worth a total of $26.4 billion as of January 16, down from 55 issues worth $35.8 billion in the same period of 2012. Many investors expect the pace of issuance to remain subdued this year as companies remain flush with cash after a spate of borrowing in 2012. For investors the tightening supply is likely to make it even harder to find significant yields. (While that applies to large issuers, Standard & Poor’s says smaller European companies are in a much different position.)

Last year companies tapped the European corporate bond market....