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Euro Zone Bond Yields Stick near Lows as ECB Meeting Looms

LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - Euro zone government yields were steady near one-month lows on Monday, with a looming European Central Bank meeting pushing investors to the sideline for now.

Borrowing costs across the bloc fell on Friday after a closely-watched U.S. jobs report fell short of expectations, calming worries that a roaring economy could lead the Federal Reserve to taper its stimulus soon.

But calm returned at the start of a new week, with direction in euro zone debt markets seen limited ahead of Thursday’s ECB meeting when the central bank will review the pace of emergency bond buys that it jacked up in March to prevent a rise in borrowing costs hurting a recovery.

Germany’s benchmark 10-year bond yield was flat on the day at -0.21%, holding near an almost one-month low hit after Friday’s U.S. jobs data. French and Dutch 10-year bond yields also held near recent lows.

“The bar for dovish ECB surprises seems high after the disappointing U.S. payrolls pushed 10-year Bund yields through -0.20%,” said Commerzbank rates strategist Michael Leister.

Dovish rhetoric from ECB policymakers suggests they are in no hurry to slow the pace of buying under the 1.85 trillion euro ($2.24 trillion) Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP).

Yet, with the economy on a sounder footing, inflation picking up and other central banks taking tentative steps to slow stimulus, pressure to taper is building. In the meantime, Germany attracted some attention. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives won a resounding victory in a state election in eastern Germany on Sunday, in a boost to Armin Laschet, who hopes to succeed her in September’s national election.

Laschet, a centrist, was seen as having made an uncertain start to his election campaign and had faced calls to chart a more right-wing course to win back voters disenchanted by 16 years of compromises under Merkel.

“The results of Sunday’s election in Saxony-Anhalt once again illustrate that, even if there was any, the wind of change in German politics is currently very mild,” said ING’s global head of macro Carsten Brzeski.

Italy’s 10-year bond yield dipped to a one-month low at 0.869% after Fitch confirmed Italy’s rating at BBB- with a stable outlook on Friday.

Italy’s 5-Star Movement will maintain support for the national unity government led by Mario Draghi despite the unpopularity of some of its decisions, former premier Giuseppe Conte, the most likely new leader of the party, said on Monday.

Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Pravin Char

Source: Reuters

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