4 Min Read
(Corrects reference to Euribor rates moves in 9th paragraph to clarify investors bet on them to fall, not rise)
* German consumer confidence slips, Italy to revise GDP
* Bund future hits new high, cash yields fall to lows
* Investors place bets on rising Euribor, say brokers
* JP Morgan calls for ECB rate cut next week
* Germany's Schaeuble says Draghi comments 'over-interpreted'
By John Geddie
LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - German Bund yields reached record lows on Wednesday, as further evidence of the region's faltering economy fed market expectations for more European Central Bank stimulus.
Weaker-than-expected consumer confidence in Germany drove the market, together with reported comments from Italy's economy minister that Rome must lower its forecast for economic growth.
Eager to tackle the euro zone's economic malaise, ECB President Mario Draghi on Friday appeared to shift the bank's policy response towards growth. Crucially for investors, he left the door open for a programme of asset purchases known as quantitative easing (QE).
"When the EMU's largest economy is falling behind, this is very much increasing the chances of the ECB heading for further monetary measures, above all QE," said DZ Bank strategist Daniel Lenz.
German Bund futures climbed to record highs of 151.28, up 46 ticks on the day. Ten 10-year cash bond yields fell 3.7 basis points to 0.91, a shade above the record low of 0.926 percent reached on Monday. German 10-year yields have dropped over 100 bps this year.
Spanish and Italian bond yields both fell to record lows for the third consecutive day, down 10 bps and 7 bps respectively at 2.09 and 2.37 percent.
With Draghi particularly concerned about the decline in market expectations for inflation, the latest consumer price data for Germany due on Thursday and then for the entire euro zone on Friday will be closely watched. <ECONALLEU
Only a handful of strategists expect the ECB to announce further policy action at its meeting next week, but one trader said investors will be "hoping for all the right noises".
Brokers say large volumes of options are being purchased by investors betting that Euribor rates, the benchmark for euro zone bank-to-bank lending, will fall in the coming months as a result of ECB rates cuts or a surge in spare cash in the system.
In a note to clients, JP Morgan said it expected the ECB to cut rates at next week's meeting and reduce the interest it plans to charge on a new set of emergency loans it will make available to banks next month.
But there is room for disappointment as well. Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a newspaper on Wednesday that Draghi's comments had been "over-interpreted", particularly in reference to fiscal policy playing a greater role in promoting growth.
Elsewhere, Austrian bond yields dipped 2 bps to 1.67 percent after a report late on Tuesday that Austria's conservative People's Party has picked Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner to replace Michael Spindelegger as party leader. Spindelegger resigned unexpectedly in a row over tax reform; he refused to cut taxes unless they cuts could be financed without new levies.
His departure comes amid a political battle in Europe over whether belt-tightening has gone too far at the expense of economic growth. The same clash forced a government reshuffle in France this week. (Editing by Hugh Lawson, Larry Kin)