* Bunds rise, peripheral seen vulnerable to more selling
* Not much expected from meeting of euro zone finmins
* Quiet start to the week as Asia closed for holidays
By Ana Nicolaci da Costa
LONDON, Feb 11 German Bunds rose on Monday, with
market participants saying a sell-off in lower-rated debt had
further room to run due to political uncertainty in Spain and
jitters before an Italian vote this month.
Analysts were not expecting much news from a euro zone
finance ministers meeting later in the day, where the strength
of the euro could be discussed before a G20 meeting at the end
of the week.
A peripheral bond rally paused last week as Spanish Prime
Minister Mariano Rajoy faced calls to step down over corruption
allegations and another scandal involving Monte dei Paschi bank
fuelled political uncertainty before Italian elections.
As long as these issues remained unresolved, investors may
favour Bunds over lower-rated debt, analysts said.
"Near term, I think that (the periphery) can continue to
underperform because the situation in these countries remains
relatively unclear. Whether it's in Spain or in Italy, we have
some political issues and in the near term, this (will) continue
to (weigh) on these markets," Patrick Jacq, rate strategist at
BNP Paribas said.
German Bund futures were 15 ticks higher at 142.98.
Ten-year Spanish government bond yields were
up 3.5 basis points at 5.42 percent, having risen about 47 basis
points since late January.
Equivalent Italian borrowing costs were up 1.1
bps at 4.58 percent, having also climbed 44 bps over the same
"We (are) just recommending keeping long Bund versus
Treasuries and versus peripheral markets," he said, adding risk
appetite was generally better in the United States due to solid
economic data and the Federal Reserve's ultra-easy monetary
Trade was thin with most Asian bourses closed for the Lunar
New Year holiday, including those in China, Hong Kong, Singapore
and South Korea, and Japan also closed for a public holiday.
With no major economic data this session investors would
look to euro zone industrial production numbers on Wednesday and
gross domestic product figures on Thursday for the latest gauge
of the struggling economy.
Attention will also be on Thursday's Italian bond sale,
which will see the offering of a 30-year BTP for the first time
since May 2011 in a regular auction.
The nervous backdrop is likely to force Italy to pay more in
order to get the bonds away, but analysts expect the sale of
three separate bonds including those maturing in 2015 and 2026
to benefit from heavy redemption flows in February.
"We are quite optimistic that they will make it, there will
be no negative surprise," Piet Lammens, strategist at KBC said.
"Ahead of the Italian elections, there is a bit of a risk but we
think Italian banks will be there to get enough bonds placed in
Political uncertainty forced Spain to pay higher to raise
funds last week, even though the sale met healthy demand.