February 13, 2013 / 7:16 AM / 5 years ago

EURO GOVT-Bund futures inch higher before Italian auction

LONDON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Bund futures opened slightly higher on Wednesday with investors cautious ahead of an auction that will test investors' appetite for Italy's long-term debt before elections later this month.

Italian debt has been under pressure in recent weeks as a comeback in opinion polls by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party raised the prospect of a fragmented parliament that could hamper the next government's reform efforts.

There was at least a pause in the sell-off on Tuesday, however, with traders citing domestic investors snapping up the cheapened paper.

The government is aiming to sell up to 3.5 billion euros of three-year bonds and between 1 and 1.75 billion euros of 15- and 30-year bonds, together with five-year floating rate CCTeu certificates. The 30-year paper is the first on offer at a regular auction since May 2011.

"The focus is on the Italian auction, but given how well Italy traded yesterday I think they will be alright," one trader said.

At 0706 GMT, Bund futures were 8 ticks higher on the day at 142.63.

Germany also plans to sell 5 billion euros of two-year bonds.

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