(Adds PMIs, details, quotes)
By Yoruk Bahceli
LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Germany’s 10-year government bond yield bounced off four-month lows after a batch of business surveys delivered healthier-than-expected views of the euro zone economy.
Purchasing managers’ surveys showed the private sector in Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy, expanded steadily in February as growth in services activity made up for an easing recession in manufacturing. The coronavirus outbreak, however, may pose a threat to future exports.
IHS Markit’s flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for Germany, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors that together account for more than two-thirds of the economy, edged down to 51.1 from 51.2 the previous month.
The reading beat the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts who had expected a drop to 50.8.
Business activity in France and the wider euro zone also expanded faster than expected in February, PMI surveys showed.
Uncertainty stemming from the potential economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak has boosted demand for safe-haven bonds in recent weeks, while money markets have started to price a higher probability of a rate cut from the European Central Bank by the end of the year.
Ten-year German government bond yields fell to a four month low earlier on Friday at -0.46%, but bounced back up following the PMI release. They were last trading flat at -0.45%.
The entire Dutch yield curve briefly returned to negative territory in earlier trade. The 30-year Dutch bond yield – the longest on the sovereign curve – fell to -0.012%, its lowest since Oct 10. It was last around 0.01%, down 3 basis points on the day.
The rise in yields following the data release was “tempered by the fact that we’ve got this ongoing issue that’s still developing,” said Rabobank strategist Lyn Graham-Taylor, as the situation around coronavirus has continued to evolve since the survey data was collected.
Should yields fall further, the German yield curve is next in line to return to negative territory, with the 30-year bond yield currently trading at 0.02% (Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli; editing by Sujata Rao and Toby Chopra)
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