LONDON: Worries about a possible US default drove British gilt futures to within a whisker of a contract high and yields on ten-year gilts to a 9-month low in early trade on Friday.
Fresh delays in the US political wrangling over a deal to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default continued to drive investors into the perceived safety of gilts and Bunds. The flight out of higher-risk assets increased after Moody's put Spain's Aa2 rating on review for a possible downgrade.
By 0732 GMT, the September gilt future was 34 ticks up at 124.41, having hit a high of 124.53 shortly after the open -- just 3 ticks away from a new contract high.
In the cash market, the yield on ten-year gilts was 2 basis points down at 2.941 percent, having hit a low of 2.927 percent -- its lowest since October 2010. The yield differential between gilts and Bunds remained at around 33 basis points.
"All market attention will remain fixed on the US debt ceiling talks," said Moyeen Islam, strategist at Barclays Capital.
"With event risk significant over the weekend, we imagine that price action will be dominated by position squaring and de-risking of books ahead of the weekend," he said.
A survey overnight showed UK consumer confidence deteriorated more than expected in July , although it was offset by positive news on house prices from mortgage lender Nationwide.
Bank of England data at 0830 GMT is expected to show mortgage lending remained subdued in June, suggesting the housing market will remain soft for some time to come.
Copyright Reuters, 2011