October 2, 2019 / 7:57 AM / 14 days ago

Euro zone bond yields inch up on ECB Draghi's call for fiscal stimulus

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

By Yoruk Bahceli

LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Euro zone bond yields inched up on Wednesday after another speech from outgoing ECB Chief Mario Draghi calling for fiscal stimulus to boost the region’s sluggish economy.

The most effective treatment for the euro zone’s sluggish economy would be investment-led stimulus at the euro area level, Draghi said in a speech on Tuesday evening in Athens.

While bond yields tumbled last week as inflation expectations fell, calls for fiscal stimulus are weakening demand for fixed income as investors also believe that European Central Bank monetary policy easing may have run its course for now.

However, euro zone finance ministers are not planning any joint spending, while lead economy Germany has been dragging its feet about providing fiscal stimulus to its economy, which is on the brink of recession.

Uncertainty over the future of the ECB stimulus package announced on Sept 12 also continue, as Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann reaffirmed his opposition on Tuesday to relaxing the terms of the quantitative easing programme so that the ECB can buy even more government debt.

“He will leave the ECB at end of October and a lot of people will say to Draghi (that) he is the only ECB president who wasn’t able to raise rates,” said DZ Bank rates strategist Sebastian Fellechner.

Most 10-year government bond yields in the region were up 1 to 2 basis points

Germany’s 10-year benchmark yield edged up to -0.55%, rising for a sixth session in a row.

Fellechner added that the speeches could lead to euro zone states understanding the need for fiscal stimulus. He added that significant stimulus is more likely in 2020 than this year, and analysts say Germany may eventually have to boost spending if the economy worsens.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that Germany would be able to counter an economic crisis if there were one, although he doesn’t expect a downturn as bad as in 2008/2009.

Germany’s leading economic institutes are on Wednesday expected to lower their growth forecasts for this year and next .

U.S. data is in focus after a closely watched manufacturing index dropped to its lowest level in a decade. ADP employment numbers due at 1215 GMT, which will set the stage for non-farm payroll numbers on Friday.

Meanwhile, the first quote for the ECB’s new benchmark rate ESTR was released at -0.549%, 9.8 basis points below the last EONIA reading.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil his final Brexit offer to the European Union on Wednesday. (Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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