EURO GOVT-Bunds rise, could extend gains if EU disappoints

Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:41pm EDT

Related Topics

* Investors weigh hopes for Greece with debt crisis reality

* Geithner presence ups pressure on Europe to deliver

* Doubts about a resolution to crisis keep Bund yields down (Updates into closing)

By Emelia Sithole-Matarise

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - German government bond prices rose in volatile trade on Friday as investors weighed reassurances from a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Poland against the range of problems the single currency region still needs to tackle.

Peripheral euro zone bonds mostly advanced as easing pressure in money markets after central banks moved to boost dollar funding for struggling regional banks but the rally may be reversed if no new action is taken on the debt crisis.

The unusual presence of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the European finance ministers' meeting has fueled expectations that it could increase pressure on policymakers to deliver a more coherent response to the region's debt problems.

Debt-choked Greece is increasingly expected to receive a much needed next tranche of bailout aid after French and German vows this week to keep the country in the euro zone. But a further handout would do little to solve its long-term problems analysts said.

"The market wants certainty or at least a road map and if it doesn't get it come Monday the market may have run its course in terms of improvement in risk sentiment we saw over the last few days," Lloyds strategist Eric Wand said.

"Short-term prognosis may be helpful for risk assets but I still see issues around the ultimate size of the EFSF (bailout fund) and the political cohesion in Europe is still not that great. Down the line we're better buyers of high grade products."

German Bund futures FGBLc1 rose 66 ticks on the day to settle at 136.65, with some traders seeing some covering of short positions going into the weekend given uncertainty over the outcome of the finance ministers' meeting.

Geithner urged euro zone ministers to leverage their 440 billion euro bailout fund and free more resources to tackle their debt problems during a meeting on Friday, a senior euro zone official said.

But a source told Reuters the finance ministers had neither rejected not endorsed leveraging the bailout fund, leaving some analysts doubtful that anything new will come out of Poland.

"I get the sense there'll still be some repositioning, taking long positions in core markets because with all that's happened this week, there's nothing of huge significance with regard to the major problems we have in the euro zone," Credit Agricole strategist Peter Chatwell said.

"What we had doesn't tackle the core of the problems. It's addressing the symptoms."

Benchmark German 10-year Bund yields were down 7 bps down at 1.86 percent at the European settlement and some strategists said they could fall back towards the recent record low of 1.68 percent and even beyond.

GREEK DEFAULT PRICED IN

Peripheral euro zone debt yields mostly fell but underperformed Bunds as Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos sought to reassure investors, saying the intention was to meet the country's fiscal targets for this year and next without delay.

Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker said euro zone finance ministers welcomed Greece's commitment but said full implementation of the Greek adjustment plan remained crucial, and a decision on the next aid disbursement would be taken in October.

But there is a perception that even if Greece did secure the next bailout tranche -- funds it seems to need to survive beyond October -- that would only "kick the can down the road", doing little to rein in the country's debt problems.

Two-year Greek debt yields were marked 10 full percentage points at 61 percent lower from over 90 percent mid-week but are still more than double what they were after the July bailout plan was agreed.

Credit default swap prices were showing a 93 percent probability of a default, according to Reuters calculations based on Markit data. A Reuters poll of economists also showed the country was likely to default within a year.

For a story on what happens if Greece has a disorderly default, click on . For a poll on the chances of a default and when it might happen, click on (editing by Ron Askew)

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