April 30, 2013 / 8:31 AM / in 5 years

EURO GOVT-Euro zone debt steady, investors await ECB

* Investors reluctant to place big bets before ECB meeting

* Also sidelined before holiday in Europe, Fed, payrolls

* Italian, Spanish debt little changed after rally

By Ana Nicolaci da Costa

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - Euro zone debt prices were little changed on Tuesday with investors reluctant to place big bets before central bank policy meetings and a run of economic data.

German Bunds have rallied in recent weeks on expectations of further monetary easing by the European Central Bank, which a narrow majority of economists expect to cut interest rates on Thursday.

Bund futures were 6 ticks lower at 146.60, leaving them not far from the 146.89 record high, which analysts say makes them vulnerable to selling. Trade was expected to be relatively quiet before a holiday in much of Europe on Wednesday.

Euro zone inflation data is expected to support the case for a rate cut after German annual inflation eased to its lowest level in more than two years in April.

“We are a bit skeptical that we will keep these (Bund future) levels going into the ECB meeting. We would rather look for a correction but not today, just starting on Thursday,” Rainer Guntermann, strategist at Commerzbank said. He said a 25 basis point rate cut was priced in.

But market players were broadly in agreement that a 25 basis point cut by the ECB would do little to spur growth in an already ultra-loose monetary policy environment.

Investors also refrained from taking big positions before a two-day Federal Reserve meeting which ends on Wednesday, and U.S. jobs data on Friday.

Italian and Spanish government bond yields were little changed after bond prices rallied in the previous session when Italy clinched a new government after months of deadlock.

“Despite the fact that the periphery is doing well, we are not really trading off it,” one trader said.

The trader expected Cyprus’s parliament to approve a bailout imposed by its EU partners without any hiccups, but some analysts were nervous about it.

“An accident would be no majority for the bailout package, refusal of the bailout package. It’s not the base but it is a risk which is probably a bit underestimated at the moment,” Guntermann added.

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