LONDON (Reuters) - Euro zone bond yields inched down on Friday but were set for big weekly increases as easing global risks and caution ahead of a key ECB meeting curbed demand for fixed income.
Data showed Germany industrial output unexpectedly fell in July, a reminder that economic conditions in the euro zone remain weak and central bank easing is on its way.
U.S. non-farm payroll data too showed fewer jobs created in August than expected, though the numbers were cushioned by strong wage gains.
In the latest action by central banks to boost growth, China on Friday cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves.
However, yields in major bond markets have shot up this week after falling for months. News the United States and China will resume trade talks, a new government in Italy and easing Brexit concerns have all hurt demand for safe-haven assets.
Comments from European Central Bank officials, meanwhile, lowered expectations for aggressive easing at next week’s policy meeting, steepening bond yield curves.
“Yesterday’s trigger was principally due to the positive noises on the trade war, the better U.S. [ADP payroll] data and signs a no-deal Brexit is becoming a more remote possibility,” said Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets.
“The probably co-ordinated comments from hawkish members of the ECB Governing Council also suggest QE (quantitative easing)next week is not a done deal.”
Germany’s 10-year bond yield fell 4 bps to -0.61% DE10YT=RR after jumping 8.5 basis points on Thursday in its biggest one-day rise since June 2018. It is up 8 bps this week - set for one of its biggest weekly jumps of the year.
Many ECB policy-makers favour resuming purchases of bonds, but opposition from some northern European countries is complicating the issue, according to a Reuters report this week, following hawkish comments by several ECB policy-makers.
“If the ECB under-delivers next week, they’re not going to be able to have an impact on inflation expectations and with other central banks easing, they will have to introduce [quantitative easing] at some point, according to their mandate,” said Mizuho rates strategist Peter McCallum.
“There might be a slight repricing [this week] but the longer-term asymmetry is towards lower rates.”
The big exception to this week’s European bond sell-off was Italy where 10-year yields IT10YT=RR fell for the fourth week in a row amid relief that a snap election has been averted. They hit a record low at 0.803% on Sept. 4.
Moody’s is due to review Italy’s rating later in the day, but analysts expect little surprise, given the agency has a stable outlook on the rating.
The S&P review in October will be watched more closely. Unlike Moody’s, S&P has Italy’s BBB rating on negative outlook posing the risk of a downgrade. If relegated to BBB- Italy’s credit rating will be just one level above junk.
S&P said on Wednesday that policy shifts under the new government could improve Italy’s credit metrics.
Following the payroll data, a speech from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at 1630 GMT will be closely watched before the central bank’s meeting in less than two weeks.
(This story clarifies analyst expectations in paragraph 15.)
Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe and Yoruk Bahceli; editing by Larry King and Toby Chopra