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Euro zone bond yields slip ahead of U.S. data

Published Oct 05, 2023 05:08AM ET Updated Oct 05, 2023 11:47AM ET
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By Stefano Rebaudo and Harry Robertson

(Reuters) - Euro zone borrowing costs broadly fell on Thursday, after a bond selloff paused the day before as yields hit crucial levels and as traders waited for U.S. employment figures.

This week's main economic focus will be Friday's jobs report for September -- which is expected to show that employers added 170,000 jobs -- but investors will closely watch the weekly jobless claims, due later in the session.

Robust economic data coupled with central bank officials' remarks from both sides of the Atlantic claiming that rates will stay at high levels for an extended period triggered a U.S.-driven bond selloff mainly on the long end of the curve.

Germany's 10-year Bund yield was down 5 basis points (bps) at 2.885% on Thursday after hitting 3.024% for the first time since July 2011 the day before.

"Tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls might produce a bond rally," said Althea Spinozzi, senior fixed income strategist at Saxo.

"Yet next week the U.S. Treasury will resume its coupon supply selling 2-, 10- and 30-year U.S. Treasuries, continuing to put pressure on the long part of the yield curve."

The gap between Germany's 2-year and 10-year government bond yields was at -24.8 bps after hitting -20.9 the day before, its highest since March 20.

An inverted curve, usually a reliable indicator of a future recession, means markets are pricing events that would trigger central bank rate cuts.

On Wednesday, U.S. jobs data helped give some respite to the bond selloff. The ADP National Employment Report showed that U.S. private payrolls increased far less than expected in September.

Investors are cautious about calling for an end to the recent bond selloff.

Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note, "the (bond price) recovery (yesterday) accelerated with bad employment data, so the answer to how to get out of the recent rout was clearly the return of 'bad news is good news'."

The German 2-year yield - most sensitive to expectations for policy rates - fell 5 bps to 3.138%.

"For the U.S. Treasury 10-year segment some term premium measures have risen 80-100 bps in the past two months," said Steven Major, global head at fixed income research at HSBC.

"We think this is a decent compensation for investors willing to buy bonds," he added. Term premium is the compensation that investors demand for owning longer maturities.

Euro area bonds recently tracked moves in U.S. Treasuries.

Since the start of September, Germany's 10-year yield has risen by around 44 bps, while the 2-year yield was up by roughly 19 bps.

Money market bets on rate hikes have dropped slowly since mid-September and on Thursday were pricing in around an 18% chance of an additional 25 bps move by the European Central Bank by year-end from a 35% chance on Sept. 15.

The ECB rate hike last month was likely the last, policymaker Peter Kazimir said on Thursday.

Italy's 10-year government bond yield fell 1 bp to 4.891% after reaching 5.024% on Wednesday, its highest level since Nov. 2011.

Euro zone bond yields slip ahead of U.S. data
 

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