* Bunds rally, periphery spreads widen on euro debt woes
* Bunds could hit record if payrolls add to U.S. recession
* Some say ECB may slow down bond buying to up pressure on
By Marius Zaharia
LONDON, Sept 2 German Bunds rose on Friday, and
could re-test record highs in the near term, as the risk of
fiscal slippage in Greece and Italy reignited safe-haven bids
and U.S. payrolls data later in the day were seen stoking
Even if the U.S. payrolls data surprises on the positive
side, Bunds are expected to remain resilient given the many
hurdles the euro zone -- also facing a bleak economic outlook --
has to overcome as it struggles with a debt crisis.
The data, due at 1230 GMT, is expected to show an increase
of 75,000 jobs, down from July's 117,000 rise, but the market
was already positioning for a lower number, traders said.
"Certainly anything south of 50,000 should be taken as Bund
positive. As for the actual number that would push (Bunds)
through the previous record, the closer we get to 25,000 the
greater the likelihood," said Rabobank strategist Richard
"If there was a sell-off in Bunds on the back of a strong
number that (could be) a potential buying opportunity given that
the risk is tilted in favour of the bullish tone because of the
ongoing debt crisis."
Bund futures FGBLc1 were last 69 ticks higher at 135.99,
with 10-year cash yields down 6.5 basis points at
If their break above last week's 135.84 were sustained, the
door was open to the 136.26 record high, said UBS technical
strategist Richard Adcock, adding that momentum indicators were
at levels close to triggering fresh buying recommendations.
The 162 percent extension of the Aug. 2010-April 2011
selloff at 138.06 would then be next upside target, he said.
One trader said the next bullish trigger would be a close
below 2.08 percent in Bund yields, a level broken during recent
sessions, but not on a closing basis.
"Bunds are pretty well supported overall ... I can't see why
Bunds (yields) can't get through towards 1.75 percent, while any
move towards 2.25 percent will be bought," another trader said
about post-payrolls trading ranges.
The first trader also warned about the risk of Bund
investors getting caught by a very bad payroll figure that could
boost hopes of a third round of quantitative easing by the
Federal Reserve, giving a better bid to equities and limiting
Supporting that view, Bloxham Stockbrokers' chief economist
Alan McQuaid said Bund yields could break below 2 percent in the
near-term if the data is weak, but they could bounce back
sharply over the next three months if the Fed does pursue
A MATTER OF SURVIVAL
Signs Greece will miss its deficit reduction targets,
concerns over the level of private investor participation in a
debt swap and the risk of a second aid deal being delayed by
Finland's demands for collateral to back up its loans to Athens
are keeping weaker states under pressure.
Italy, a recent victim of a debt market sell-off, is
hesitating in passing austerity measures and questions remain
over how long European Central Bank buying in secondary debt
markets can keep Italian and Spanish yields in check.
ECB President Jean Claude Trichet warned Italy in an
interview published on Friday that it must continue structural
reforms and cut its budget deficit. Some in the market speculate
the ECB may slow down its bond purchases to keep pressure on
The Italian/German 10-year government bond yield spread
expanded by 14 bps to 318 bps, its widest since
the ECB first intervened in Italian markets. Spanish and
Portuguese equivalent spreads widened by a similar margin.
A third trader said the ECB was buying small amounts of
"At the margin markets are speculating that the ECB got
tired of supporting them, but I don't think that's going to
happen because it is still a matter of survival of the euro zone
as a whole," said Lloyds interest rate strategist Alessandro
Weak demand at this week's Italian and Spanish tenders was
taken as a sign that the ECB's intervention was not enough to
convince investors to buy new debt issued by the two states,
further depressing sentiment.
(Graphic by Vincent Flasseur; editing by Nigel Stephenson)