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MUMBAI: Indian government bond yields were marginally lower in the early session on Thursday, tracking a dip in US yields and oil prices that aided investor sentiment.

The benchmark Indian 10-year government bond yield was at 7.2519% as of 0500 GMT, after closing slightly higher at 7.2736% on Wednesday.

The yield had declined for seven sessions till Nov. 15, dropping by an aggregate of 22 basis points (bps).

The benchmark yield fell below the 7.25%-mark for a brief period in early trade but is expected to trade in the range of 7.25%-7.27% through the day, with the major focus on tomorrow’s debt sale, a trader with a private bank said.

New Delhi is set to raise 300 billion Indian rupees ($3.68 billion) through a sale of bonds on Friday, which includes liquid five-year and 14-year bonds.

Longer-tenor US yields fell on Wednesday and an inversion of the yield curve deepened further after a strong retail sales report boosted expectations that the Federal Reserve may continue hiking rates, which could put economic growth at risk.

Indian bond yields tad higher on profit-booking after 7-day price rally

The 10-year US yield eased by over 10 bps to 3.70% on Wednesday, while the two-year yield, which is a more direct indicator of interest rate expectations was at 4.36%.

The spread between the two has widened to 66 bps, up from 55 bps earlier in the week.

Market participants also took comfort from easing oil prices, which fell on Wednesday as rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in China added to worries over demand from the world’s largest crude importer.

The benchmark Brent crude contract was 1.1% lower at $91.80 per barrel, after falling 1.1% in the previous session.

The movement in oil prices has a direct impact on local inflation as India is a major importer.

The country’s retail inflation eased to a three-month low of 6.77% in October, raising bets that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may slow down its pace of rate hikes.

Most market participants now expect the central bank - which has raised the repo rate by 190 bps since May to 5.90% - to opt for a lower 35-bps rate hike next month.

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