Euro zone bond yields dip as focus turns to next ECB speakers

* Euro zone periphery govt bond yields tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr

May 27 (Reuters) – Euro zone bond yields dipped on Thursday after falling sharply in recent sessions, as investors sought direction from several European Central Bank policymakers who will speak later in the session.

Comments from ECB President Christine Lagarde last week that it was too early for the central bank to discuss slowing its pandemic emergency bond purchases (PEPP), reinforced by remarks from several others, have sent euro area bond yields falling sharply.

Euro area yields had risen sharply earlier in the month, with Germany’s 10-year yield nearing positive territory last week, driven by speculation that a stronger economic outlook driven by speedier vaccinations in the bloc could prompt the ECB to slow the PEPP purchases at its June 10 meeting.

Focus is on new speakers on Thursday, which include board members Luis de Guindos and Isabel Schnabel, and Germany’s Jens Weidmann.

With most speakers so far giving dovish signals, Weidmann in particular, among the most hawkish, will be watched closely to evaluate the likelihood of the recent messaging reflecting in the upcoming policy decision.

“ECB guidance will remain in focus today while the tone could turn more balanced,” Commerzbank strategists Rainer Guntermann and Christoph Rieger told clients.

“Hawkish comments would be no surprise, and it will be interesting to see whether (Weidmann’s) near-term views start to converge with the latest colour from Lagarde when she signalled no major policy shift at the next meeting.”

On Thursday, German 10-year yields, the benchmark for the bloc, were down less than 1 basis point to -0.21% by 0656 GMT after falling nearly 10 basis points during the previous four sessions.

Italian 10-year yields were down similarly to 0.92%, keeping the closely watched gap with German peers at 112 bps, similar to Wednesday’s levels.

“An ECB taper is unlikely in June, and the re-tightening of BTP-Bund (spread) suggests the market is coming around to this view,” Mizuho analysts told clients.

The spread was at nearly 125 bps at the start of last week.

On the data front, focus is on the U.S., where a second estimate of first quarter gross domestic product will be released, as well as weekly initial job claims.

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