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Markets

Euro zone bond yields up in wake of U.S. jobs data

  • Lower-rated Southern European bonds underperformed higher-rated peers, with yields rising 3 to 7 basis points. Bond yields move inversely with prices.
07 Apr 2021

AMSTERDAM: Euro zone bond yields edged up on Tuesday as markets reopened from the Easter holiday and caught up with better-than-expected U.S. employment data released on Friday.

Last week's data showed the U.S. economy created the most jobs in seven months in March, beating expectations, as more Americans got vaccinated and the government doled out additional pandemic relief money.

That pushed safe-haven U.S. Treasury yields higher across the curve on Friday, although they gave up some of those gains on Monday with the downward trend continuing on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the first day of trading in the euro zone after the Easter holiday, Germany's 10-year yield, the benchmark for the bloc, rose as much as 3 basis points (bps) before paring some gains.

By 1525 GMT it was up nearly 1 bps at -0.317pc.

"Thanks to yesterday's decline in U.S. Treasury yields, any upward pressure on Bund yields stemming from spillover effects is likely to be limited," UniCredit analysts told clients.

Lower-rated Southern European bonds underperformed higher-rated peers, with yields rising 3 to 7 basis points. Bond yields move inversely with prices.

European bond traders closely follow developments in U.S. Treasuries, as bonds in the two regions trade in close correlation.

That caused worries in February, when a sharp rise in Treasury yields on expectations that a vast U.S. stimulus package would reignite growth and inflation also sent euro area borrowing costs higher.

The move was seen as less justified given the bloc's weaker economic outlook coming out of the pandemic.

Euro area data on Tuesday supported sentiment on economic recovery, with an investor morale index rising in April to its highest since August 2018, as investors base their expectations on accelerated vaccination programmes across the European Union.

Unemployment in the bloc was unchanged in February compared to an upwardly revised January reading, as European furlough schemes limited the impact of the second wave of the pandemic on jobs.

The focus this week will be on the European Central Bank, which is expected to release monthly data on its conventional asset purchases and the bi-monthly breakdown of its pandemic emergency bond purchases on Wednesday, followed by the minutes for its March meeting on Thursday.

In the primary market, Italy and Portugal hired syndicates of banks for bond sales that are expected in the "near future", a phrase debt management offices usually use a day before a sale.

Italy will sell a new 50-year bond and re-open a seven-year bond, its Treasury said, while Portugal will sell a 10-year bond, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

Italian 10-year bond yields rose almost 7 bps to 0.700pc, while 10-year Portugues yields were up 3 bps to 0.247pc.

Outstanding bond yields tend to rise ahead of a new sale as investors prepare for the new supply.