July 6, 2018 / 7:22 AM / in 10 months

As U.S. tariffs on China kick in, safe-haven bonds take cue from firmer stocks

LONDON (Reuters) - Euro zone government bond yields edged higher on Friday as world stock markets reacted with calm as U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect, reducing the appeal of safe-haven debt in the bloc.

U.S. dollars and other world currencies lie in a charity receptacle at Pearson international airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

But trade was generally subdued with investors reluctant to push bond yields too firmly one way or another ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls numbers - perhaps the most closely followed U.S. economic indicator - due out at 1230 GMT.

Ten-year bond yields across the euro area were just 1-2 basis points higher on the day DE10YT=RR FR10YT=RR, as stock markets in Europe opened higher after the U.S. tariffs kicked in.

“There is a cool reaction in equity markets to the trade tariffs and no signs of major retaliation so that takes the edge out of the trade war concerns,” said Commerzbank rates strategist Michael Leister.

“Bund yields are also really struggling to move below 0.30 percent.”

Germany’s benchmark 10-year bond or Bund yield was up just over a basis point at 0.31 percent, having touched five-week lows at around 0.28 percent earlier this week.

Data on Friday showed German industrial output rose by 2.6 percent in May - the highest rise since November - adding to a weaker tone in regional bond markets at the open.

While most euro zone bond yields rose on Thursday after a reported suggested some European Central Bank policymakers were uneasy about market pricing for euro zone rate hikes next year, the selloff proved short-lived.

The outlook for record-low interest rates remaining in place for some time and underlying concerns that a global trade spat will harm economic growth continue to support demand for bonds, especially those from top-rated Germany, analysts said.

Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s June meeting, released on Thursday, showed policymakers said trade policy risks had intensified and were concerning.

Focus was also turning to July U.S. jobs data, with more jobs growth and a decline in unemployment likely to support more rate hikes from the Fed.

“While another solid increase in non farm payrolls is unlikely to have a major impact, any increase in average hourly earnings beyond the consensus estimate of 2.8 percent may trigger at least a minor increase in yields, not only in the U.S. but also in the euro area,” analysts at UniCredit said in a note.

Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Toby Chopra

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