LONDON Jan 17 (Reuters) - Bund futures crept higher at the open on Thursday, but the rise was limited as investors remained reluctant to make big bets before a Spanish debt sale.
Spain plans to tap the market for up to 4.5 billion euros in bonds due to mature in 2015, 2018 and 2041. Investors will be keenly watching to see if the country can keep up a good fundraising momentum and avoid a sovereign bailout this year.
Demand is expected to be strong as sentiment towards riskier debt improved thanks to abundant liquidity at the start of the new year and the central bank's promise, made in 2012, to support the bonds of struggling sovereigns that seek help.
"Today is all about supply," one trader said. "I think it will be fine. There is appetite for risk out there. I can't see what the rationale is other than money being put to work."
German Bund futures were 14 ticks higher at 143.51, extending a three day rise, as European stock index futures pointed to a weaker start to Thursday.
A sale of French bonds is also expected to meet decent appetite as they continue to offer a pick-up over those issued by safe-haven counterpart Germany.