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Markets

Bund rises on contagion fears, stock sell-off

LONDON: German Bund futures rose on Friday after a sell-off in global equity markets overnight, while contagion concerns
18 Nov 2011

german-bondsLONDON: German Bund futures rose on Friday after a sell-off in global equity markets overnight, while contagion concerns overshadowed an announcement of far-reaching reforms by the new Italian government.

Italy's new technocrat prime minister, Mario Monti, unveiled sweeping measures to dig the country out of crisis and said Italians were confronting a "serious emergency".

But market participants remained worried about the fate of the euro zone, as borrowing costs in non-German triple-A countries surged this week, in a sign that contagion was spreading beyond peripherals.

The German Bund future opened 68 ticks higher at 138.00, as Asian shares fell for a fourth day in a row and market participants dumped US stocks overnight. .

The contract was last at 137.77.

"They can say whatever they want, whether they can put it in place, that's a different matter. I have got no confidence in any of these austerity plans getting through because of the weak growth scenario that is developing," a trader said.

"The ECB has got to come in and buy bonds (unsterilized). That's the only thing that will solve it and there is no way they are going to do that. Certainly based on the German and ECB noises, there doesn't seem to be any signs that is going to occur."

The ECB should not print money to help ease the euro zone crisis as this would offer only short-term relief and could boost inflation and dissipate reform, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wrote on Friday in the Financial Times. .

Signs that bigger euro zone economies like France are now being targeted by markets, have only increased pressure on the ECB to play a bigger role in tackling the crisis.

It has remained reluctant to do so for fear of undermining its independence from politics and its price stability mandate at a time when euro zone inflation is at 3 percent -- above a target of just below 2 percent.

Copyright Reuters, 2011