(Corrects paragraph four to make clear euro zone CPI date due later this week not later this session, no other changes to text)
* Euro zone periphery govt bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr
LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Germany’s 10-year bond yield touched its lowest level in almost two months on Wednesday, after an acrimonious first U.S. presidential debate made investors cautious globally and underpinned demand for safe-haven assets.
Traders are now looking to European Central Bank officials speaking this session, including ECB President Christine Lagarde and Chief Economist Philip Lane. Reuters reported this week that ECB officials were increasingly divided over how to steer the economy through a second COVID-19 wave.
Lagarde said on Wednesday there was a need for a clear consensus and that measures taken this year should help boost inflation.
The “flash” estimate of inflation in the euro area in September due later this week could also add downward pressure on bond yields. Data on Tuesday showed September’s harmonised German consumer prices fell 0.4%.
In early trade, Germany’s 10-year Bund yield touched -0.55% , its lowest level since early August. The benchmark yield was on track for its biggest monthly drop since February this month.
Renewed concern about the economic impact of rising coronavirus cases in Europe, weak inflation, and U.S. election uncertainty have boosted demand for fixed income assets in recent weeks.
“Financial markets were generally a touch weaker as fears of a contested election outcome grew,” said Chris Bailey, European strategist at Raymond James, referring to Tuesday’s election debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Most euro zone bond yields were steady in early trade, although Italian bond yields were a touch higher on the day. Italy’s 10-year bond yield rose 2 basis points to 0.86% .
Analysts said bond markets would likely pay close attention to ECB comments on Wednesday amid recent signs of a rift in the Governing Council.
“A speech from ECB chief economist Philip Lane can be expected to absorb the most attention,” UniCredit analysts said in a note.
“We expect him to repeat the message of more stimulus if needed. This is likely to keep European government bonds and U.S. Treasuries well supported.” (Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
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