EURO GOVT-Bunds steady on bets of mixed data, ECB repayment eyed

LONDON Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:19am EST

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LONDON Jan 25 (Reuters) - German Bunds were steady on Friday as traders expected mixed data out of Europe and only a limited impact from the European Central Bank's announcement on the size of the bank repayment of cheap ECB loans.

Britain's economy is expected to have contracted 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a Reuters poll, while Germany's Ifo index, a key barometer of the country's economic health, is seen rising for a third month in January.

The ECB will also announce this session how much banks plan to repay of the 489 billion euros they borrowed from the central bank in the the first round of cheap long-term financing in December 2011.

Although Italian and Spanish debt are expected to withstand any withdrawal from the banking system next week, the repayment could impact money markets. .

German Bund futures were up 4 ticks on the day at 143.24.

"The bigger it is, in theory, the worst it is on the front-end, although I think it's fairly priced in at the moment. I think it would have to be a big number to really hurt things," one trader said.

Traders expect 100 billion euros will be returned to the ECB next week, according to a Reuters poll but forecasts ranged from from 30 billion to 250 billion euros..

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