Greek yields rise as bailout review still unfinished

Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:43am EDT

Related Topics

* Further work seen needed to close Greek bailout review

* Dutch finance minister hopes for resolution this week

* Most periphery yields up after recent rally

By Joshua Franklin

LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - Greek 10-year bond yields edged up on Monday as talks to release funds under its international bailout continued, helping halt a five-week rally that had led yields on the junk-rated debt to their lowest in nearly four years.

Speaking at a news conference after Monday's meeting of euro zone finance ministers, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said "further work is needed on several fronts" before the review of progress on reforms required under Greece's 237 billion euro bailout could be closed.

He was "slightly optimistic" some resolution would be found this week, according to remarks quoted on the European Council's website.

Greece has shown signs of recovery from a six-year recession. It posted a primary budget surplus in January, helping Greece's 10-year yields to fall by more than a fifth to 6.68 percent since the beginning of February.

"That's the lowest level we've seen since the first Greek bailout (in 2010) so it's not unusual that you now see some kind of correction, especially if the news flow surrounding Greece is at the same time slightly negative," Mathias van der Jeugt, rate strategist at KBC in Brussels, said.

Greek 10-year yields were 2.2 basis points higher 6.97 percent.

Elsewhere in the periphery Italian and Spanish yields were also higher after hitting historic lows in the past week.

Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds rose 2.8 bps to 3.34 percent, lifting off Monday's eight-year lows of 3.31 percent. Italian 10-year yields edged 0.08 bps higher after equalling Thursday's eight-year low on Monday.

"In light of a quite sizeable rebound in yields we already say... now is a time for a pause for breath," said Jan von Gerich, chief fixed income analyst at Nordea. "The near-term upside for yields is rather limited. There are no obvious triggers in today's calendar that would change this picture."

Portuguese debt bucked the trend among lower-rated bonds, with increasing optimism the country could exit its EU/IMF bailout later this year. Yields on its 10-year bonds fell 3.2 bps to fresh near four-year lows of 4.46 percent.

In core euro zone markets, German yields were flat at 1.63 percent while Belgian yields were 1 bp lower at 2.33 percent.

Belgium was preparing to sell a new 20-year bond via syndication, with orders exceeding 5 billion euros, a source with knowledge of the deal told IFR.

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