June 29, 2020 / 7:30 AM / 3 days ago

German yields hover near lows as COVID-19 deaths top half a million

* Global coronavirus deaths exceed 500,000

* German 10-year yields stay at -0.47%

* Greek, Cypriot yields jump as sentiment drops

* Euro zone periphery govt bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr

By Abhinav Ramnarayan

LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - Safe haven German government bond yields on Monday clung to one-month lows hit last week as deaths related to the novel coronavirus topped half a million worldwide, hurting risk sentiment.

While the overall COVID-19 death rate has flattened in recent weeks, health experts have expressed concerns about record numbers of new cases in countries like the United States, India and Brazil, as well as new outbreaks in parts of Asia.

“There is a full event slate this week but, we fear, nothing that will drown out the background noise of rising COVID-19 cases,” said ING rates strategist Antoine Bouvet.

“It looked like sentiment was defying gravity for a long time - and if there’s one thing we learnt in Europe, at some point measures have to be taken to stop the spread of the disease, and the question is whether they will damage growth.”

The declining risk sentiment hurt Asian stocks earlier in the session and investors retreated to safe havens such as the dollar and government bonds.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield, the benchmark for the euro zone, was half a basis point higher at -0.47%, just a touch above Friday’s one month low of -0.484.

Other high-grade euro zone government bond yields were flat to half a basis point higher on the day .

At the more risky end of the euro zone government bond spectrum, Greek and Cypriot 10-year yields were up 5-6 basis points .

Later on Monday, inflation data from the euro zone’s biggest economy, Germany, will provide some indication of what shape the recovery will take and how long the can expect central bank support to continue.

Investors’ inflation expectations have already recovered from May lows, with the five year, five year forward rate — a key market gauge of long term expectations — standing at 1.08% on Monday.

This compares to 0.84% in mid-May and an all-time low of 0.7198% in March.

Spanish inflation data for June was slightly better than expected, with consumer prices falling 0.3%, beating forecasts for a 0.5% drop. It compares to a 0.9% fall in prices the month before. (Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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