EURO GOVT-Bunds recover after Asia growth concerns hit equities

Mon Oct 8, 2012 12:25pm EDT

Related Topics

* Bunds rise as global growth outlook hurts equities

* Spanish yields edge up on concerns over bailout request

* Spain doesn't need bailout for now: euro zone finance ministers

By Emelia Sithole-Matarise

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - German Bund futures rose on Monday as fresh global growth concerns and question marks over when Spain will request a bailout spurred demand for safe-haven government bonds.

Global growth concerns reignited after the World Bank cut its economic forecasts for China, souring investor appetite for riskier assets such as equities and lifting Bunds from Friday's lows hit after a surprise fall in U.S. unemployment.

Spanish bond yields edged up and were likely to drift higher in coming days as markets look for clarity on when Madrid will seek assistance needed to activate European Central Bank debt purchases aimed at lowering its borrowing costs.

Euro zone finance ministers meeting on Monday said the country did not need a bailout for now as it was taking steps to overhaul its economy and was funding itself successfully in financial markets.

The region's economic powerhouse Germany prefers bundling together a Spanish bailout with a request for a small aid package from Cyprus and a revised second bailout for Greece.

"There's a bit of a risk-off trade, equities are firmly in the red after the World Bank revised Chinese growth and there's still uncertainty over when Spain is going to ask for aid," a trader said.

"We expected no break-through from today's (euro zone finance ministers') meeting. The German idea of trying to lump Spain, Greece and Cyprus together at the end of October is the most likely outcome now."

Bund futures rose 52 ticks to settle at 141.39 albeit in thin trade as the U.S. bond market was shut for a holiday, while German 10-year yields were down 4 basis points at 1.48 percent. Bund futures clawed back just over half of the 80 ticks they shed on Friday after the U.S. non-farm payrolls data.

"The market was probably a little bit oversold on the back of the non-farm number on Friday," a second trader said. "I went long after the dip on the non-farm."

SPAIN ACTION NEEDED

Spanish 10-year yields rose 3 bps to settle at 5.74 percent, with equivalent Italian yields up by a similar amount at 5.08 percent.

Expectations Spain will eventually ask for aid have taken yields on Spanish bonds sharply lower in recent months, with 10-year yields down more than two percentage points from euro-era peaks hit in mid-July. Analysts say for them to remain low, action is necessary.

"There's heightened uncertainty about when Spain is going to ask for aid. Until we see this commitment by the government there's not going to be any commitment from investors and yields could drift from here," said Viola Julien, a strategist at Helaba Landesbank Hesse-Thueringen

Rabobank expected a "risk off" tone in the market to continue and for the spreads between the debt issued by lower-rated sovereigns and Germany to widen.

The 10-year Spanish/German bond yield spread was 8 bps wider on the day at 426 bps.

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