November 25, 2019 / 8:58 AM / 3 months ago

Euro zone bond yields boosted slightly by fresh U.S.-China deal hopes

* Euro zone periphery government bond yields

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Eurozone bond yields rose slightly in early London trading on Monday, as positive trade war developments trumped last week’s weak euro zone data.

Market sentiment was slightly lifted by news over the weekend that China was seeking to raise substantially the upper limits for intellectual property violation fines.

“The intellectual property transfers is a big sticking point in the negotiations because the U.S. has for a long time been accusing China of stealing its intellectual property,” said Peter McCallum, rates strategist at Mizuho.

“That would be quite a big breakthrough if there was a material change in how China dealt with it,” he said.

U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Saturday an initial “phase one” trade agreement with China was possible by the end of the year. Officials on both sides have said a second phase agreement looked less likely.

Most euro zone government bond yields recovered from lows hit on Friday when euro zone data showed business growth almost ground to a halt and the services industry grew at a weaker pace than expected.

The German benchmark 10-year bond yield was up two basis points, recovering from its biggest intraday fall of the week last Friday.

Over the weekend, Fitch ratings agency kept Portugal’s rating as BBB, with outlook positive, and Austria at AA+, also with a positive outlook.

The spread between German and Portuguese 10-year yields, which widened to its most in two months last Friday, started to narrow again, down to 75.1 from highs of 77.5.

The Irish 10-year yield was down slightly, at 0.082% .

German Ifo Business Climate Index data for November is due at 0900 GMT. Reuters polling suggests a slight improvement is expected.

Mizuho’s McCallum said the market was “very trade-focused” at the moment and therefore that the data was unlikely to significantly move yields.

“A weak number would confirm the weakness in German manufacturing that’s been evident for a long time. Unless there’s a massive upside surprise I don’t think it will feed too much into the market at the moment,” he said.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks later on Monday. He is expected to reiterate a steady outlook for rates, after better-than-expected manufacturing output and services activity data on Friday.

Further U.S. economic data is due later this week, including gross domestic product estimates and unemployment data on Wednesday.

“Volatility could increase with market liquidity set to turn choppier in the Thanksgiving-shortened week and a large U.S. data cluster due on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Commerzbank strategist Rainer Guntermann wrote in a note to clients. (Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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