February 12, 2018 / 8:48 AM / 6 days ago

Back on the defensive: euro zone bond yields creep up

* Bond yields edge up across euro area

* Bund yields closed Friday with first weekly fall of year

* This week’s US CPI data in focus

* Euro zone periphery govt bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr

By Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Euro zone government bond yields edged higher on Monday, heading back towards multi-year highs on unease that a pick up in inflationary pressures globally and a strong economy will encourage the ECB to signal an end to massive monetary stimulus.

Bond yields across the bloc were 1-2 basis points in early trade, while U.S. 10-year Treasury yields touched fresh four-year highs at 2.90 percent.

“This is just a continuation of the upward trend in bond yields as people reassess economic prospects,” said Grant Lewis, head of research at Daiwa Capital Markets in London. “Even at 2.90 percent, 10-year Treasury yields are still low.”

In Germany, the euro zone’s benchmark bond issuer, 10-year bond yields were up almost 2 basis points at 0.77 percent and within sight of 2-1/2 year highs hit last week at around 0.81 percent.

They closed Friday with their first weekly fall of the year as the backdrop of a hefty selloff in world stock markets lifted appetite for safe-haven bonds.

That put an end to the longest weekly run-up in long-dated German bond yields since 2007.

Still, while stock markets have faced turbulence in the past two weeks, bonds have also had their share of pain as investors brace for an end to an era of ultra-easy cash put in place after the global financial crisis to shore up economies and confidence.

Analysts cited weekend comments from European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny and unease about this week’s looming U.S. inflation numbers as reasons for the defensive mood in bond markets on Monday.

“There was a hawkish tone from Nowotny over the weekend, although he emphasised the scaling down of asset purchases before a rate-hike,” said DZ Bank rates strategist Sebastian Fellechner.

Comments from some ECB officials in recent weeks questioning whether the ECB’s asset-purchase scheme needs to continue beyond its September end-date has weighed on euro zone bond markets.

Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Toby Chopra

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