* German Bund yields set for first weekly fall in a month
* Euro production data weak, US data below forecasts
* Cautious ECB tone weighs
* Euro zone periphery govt bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr (Updates with U.S. data)
By Patrick Graham
LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - Doubts over the global growth outlook and the pace at which the European Central Bank will move towards tighter monetary policy sent European government bond yields lower on Friday.
Analysts said there was talk of an upgrade of Ireland’s credit rating by Moody’s in a scheduled update on the country due on Friday, and a softer tone to stock markets offered some support to prices generally.
Greek government bond yields – still minimally traded after years of debt crisis and EU bailouts - were volatile as investors weigh the chances of a test return to bond issuance this summer.
But the main topic of discussion was hints of weakness in wage growth and inflation at the end of a week that has seen the Bank of England cut its forecasts and New Zealand’s central bank shock markets by not shifting to a tighter policy stance.
In Europe, ECB policymakers have sounded cautious on any swift move to rein in the bank’s bond-buying programme later this year, cooling expectations of what it may say after its next policy meeting in June.
Risks to the euro zone economy are still not balanced and the ECB needs to see evidence that wage pressures are feeding into inflation before it shifts its policy stance, governing council member Philip Lane said on Friday.
An unexpected 0.1 percent fall in euro zone industrial output on Friday also played in, as did a softer tone to U.S. economic data.
Weaker-than-expected data on consumer prices and retail sales in April scaled back expectations of a strong U.S. economic rebound in the second quarter, pushing U.S. Treasury yields lower.
“Latest comments from the ECB have been dovish and that has been supportive for bond markets,” said Cyril Regnat, fixed income strategist at Natixis. “What’s happening in the U.S. is also supportive.”
In late trade, 10-year bond yields were down 3-5 basis points across the euro zone.
The benchmark 10-year German yield fell 4 bps on the day to 0.39 percent and was set for its first weekly fall in a month, while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields tumbled 7 bps .
ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio echoed the caution of the bank’s head Mario Draghi and chief economist Peter Praet on Thursday in the face of growing calls from Germany to wind down the bank’s 2.3 trillion euros bond-buying programme.
Expectations of a change at least in language from the bank in June have grown, underpinning a steady rise in Bund yields in the past month, but for shorter-dated notes they remain deep in negative territory and below this year’s highs.
Data on Friday also showed Germany’s economy grew 0.6 percent in the first quarter, in line with expectations.
“The bias is clear, that the next move will be towards tightening and what they (ECB officials) are trying to do is mitigate the market factoring in that too much,” said Peter Chatwell, head of euro rates strategy at Mizuho in London.
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
Additional reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; editing by John Stonestreet