August 2, 2019 / 10:54 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 3-Yields across entire German bond market dip below zero for first time

* Core euro zone yields fall to all-time lows

* Ten-year bund hits low of -0.502%, 30-year -0.006%

* Money markets price 100% chance of ECB cut in Sept

* Trump due to give update on trade with EU at 1745 GMT (Adds details, latest prices)

By Virginia Furness and Tommy Wilkes

LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Yields across the entire German government bond market dipped into negative territory on Friday for the first time ever, as investors scrambled to buy less risky assets after an escalation in the U.S.-China trade conflict.

Core euro zone government bond yields hit record lows after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly ended a trade truce with China, announcing tariffs on another $300 billion of its goods which prompted a selloff in global equities.

Germany’s 30-year bond yield briefly dropped more than eight basis points to -0.006%, its first fall below zero, and was last at 0.015%. It had been as high as 0.89% as recently as January.

The yield on the benchmark German 10-year note marked new ground with a fall below -0.50 bps.

French and Dutch 10-year bond yields also dropped to new lows before rising slightly in late European trade.

“If Trump is upping the ante this isn’t great for global growth or trade and reinforces expectations that the ECB will do something,” said Matt Cairns, rates strategist at Rabobank.

The bond market’s huge rally in 2019 shows little sign of abating, with investors flocking into fixed income assets, particularly those with a top rating, on the first sign of weakness in the global economy or an escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

Money markets moved to price in a 100% chance of a 10 basis point rate cut by the ECB at its next meeting in September .

Tradeweb data on Thursday showed that the pool of euro zone government bonds with negative yields surged in July to 4.8 trillion euros or around 60% of the total, the highest proportion since August 2016.

The share of euro zone government bond yields trading below the European Central Bank’s -0.4% deposit rate also increased, rising to 42% from 36% a month earlier.

Thursday’s announcement extends Trump’s trade tariffs to nearly all of the Chinese goods the United States imports. China’s foreign ministry said on Friday it would have to take countermeasures and doesn’t want a trade war, but isn’t afraid of fighting one.

Analysts say the tariffs increase pressure on the U.S. Federal Reserve to ease policy, with the market now pricing in a 60% chance of a 50 basis point cut by the October meeting.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield dipped as low as 1.83% on Friday, from above 2.06% on Thursday before Trump’s announcement.

The Fed cut rates by 25 bps for the first time since 2008 on Wednesday but struck a less dovish tone than many investors had expected.

U.S. non-farm payrolls data showed that jobs growth slowed in July — the 164,000 job gains were in line with economists’ expectations — and manufacturers slashed hours for workers.

The market was little moved after the data, however, with all the focus on Trump’s tariff threats and the subsequent move by investors to snap up even more government debt.

“Investors were already scrambling for yield ahead of the summer drought before Trump fuelled the rally,” Commerzbank analysts wrote to clients.

Trump is scheduled to make a statement on trade with the European Union at 1345 EST (1745 GMT) on Friday, based on daily White House guidance.

Editing by Hugh Lawson and Kirsten Donovan

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