Dec 15 (Reuters) - Euro zone government bonds flattened on Wednesday as investors awaited to see if the U.S. Federal Reserve would reinforce market bets for a rate hike next year.
Analysts expect the Federal Reserve to announce that it is speeding up the end of its pandemic-era bond purchases and to signal it will increase rates next year. The Fed's policy statement and economic projections were due at 1900 GMT.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are also due to meet on Thursday and possibly convey a tightening of policy in the face of strong inflation.
"The Fed’s hawkish shift today will make it easier for its peers to follow suit. The trend is resolutely towards higher rates globally," ING told clients in a note.
The Fed is expected to lead the pack, while the ECB could provide more detail on how it will unwind its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP), due to end in March.
But concerns around the coronavirus Omicron variant, with infections rising in Europe and the United States, have caused some caution as policymakers prepared to unveil details on how they will end pandemic-emergency measures introduced in 2020.
The German yield curve continued to flatten, with the spread between 10-year and 2-year government bond yields earlier on Wednesday briefly hitting its narrowest level since the end of August at 29.4 basis points.
That usually signals investors are wary bout the economic outlook. It also suggests markets see a central bank reaction to rising inflation as a mistake since that could stifle economic growth.
Germany’s 10-year government bond yield , the benchmark for the euro zone, was flat at -0.36% at 1630 GMT, while Italy’s 10-year government bond yield also flattened at 0.920% .
On Wall Street, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes edged 0.5 bps up at 1.443%.
COVID-19 vaccines appear to have become slightly less effective in preventing severe disease and death but do provide "significant protection", the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
According to ING analysts, even if the ECB "take decisions that could be construed as dovish this week, they are unlikely to scupper the move towards higher rates globally".
The ECB bought a net 23.900 billion euros of assets last week as part of its quantitative easing programme, above the 13.451 billion euros it purchased the week before.
Reporting by Joice Alves and Stefano Rebaudo, editing by Bernadette Baum and Mark Heinrich