* EU finance ministers unlikely to OK Greek aid release
* Euro zone GDP growth data to confirm slowdown
* Bund yields could fall to 1.3 percent
By Emelia Sithole-Matarise
LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - German Bund futures edged higher on Monday, underpinned by uncertainty over the outcome of Greek aid talks and worries about a potential fiscal crisis in the United States.
With most U.S. markets shut for a holiday, investors focused on a euro zone finance ministers’ meeting later on Monday which will discuss whether to release a new tranche of funding to debt-plagued Greece after it approved a tough 2013 budget on Sunday.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a German newspaper on Sunday that the troika of international lenders to Athens was unlikely to deliver its full report in time for the ministers’ meeting.
Bunds were expected to remain in demand after officials said the euro zone was unlikely to release the new funding as there was no agreement on how to make Greece’s debt sustainable, though Athens is set to get two more years to cut it.
“I don’t think we are going to get anything concrete (from the finance ministers) in terms of the next Greek aid tranche,” a trader said.
“The market is pretty constructive as long as the global economic backdrop remains uncertain given the U.S. fiscal cliff. I don’t see why Bunds should trade off particularly.”
The Bund future was last at 143.20, up 6 ticks from Friday’s settlement and near its highest in over two months, which it reached last week as renewed concern over Greece and global growth spurred demand for safe-haven government debt.
Time pressure for a deal on Greece is growing because Athens has to redeem 5 billion euros worth of treasury bills on Nov. 16 and had been counting on cash from the next aid tranche to help cover that. That has left Athens mulling rolling over the bills.
“Greek will by hook or crook get the money for the redemptions but beyond that I don’t think the next aid tranche payment will come before the end of November,” another trader said.
German 10-year yields were steady at 1.34 percent . Some strategists said they could fall as low as 1.3 percent in coming days with gross domestic product data from Germany, France and Italy this week widely expected to confirm a slowdown in euro zone growth.
Investors also remain concerned that spending cuts and tax increases due to kick in early in 2013 could derail the U.S. recovery if Democrats and Republicans in Congress fail to reach a deal before the end of the year.
“Whilst there’s uncertainty remaining on Greece and the U.S., core government bonds will remain underpinned but I think 10-year Bunds at these levels look pretty rich,” Nick Stamenkovic, strategist at RIA Capital Markets, said.
“Near term we could see Bund yields test the 1.30 level but at those sort of levels investors will be reluctant to push the yield significantly lower unless we see signs of significant disagreement in the U.S. and/or problems with financing in Greece.”