* Government bonds from the Eurozone periphery give tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr
AMSTERDAM, April 8 (Reuters) – Eurozone bond yields fell on Thursday amid uncertainty over the bloc’s COVID-19 vaccination program, and as market attention turned to the record of the last ECB meeting.
After European and UK regulators found a potential link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and rare brain blood clots, Spain said it would only kick in those over 60s and the Italy made the same recommendation.
The vaccine flip side, a key part of the bloc’s vaccination efforts, comes as the euro zone grapples with a new wave of the virus, with Spanish regions tightening lockdowns on Wednesday and the German Chancellor supporting a tighter lockdown.
Eurozone safe-haven bond yields fell, with the 10-year yield of Germany, the block’s benchmark, falling about one basis point to -0.32%.
Italian 10-year bond yields, which rose sharply ahead of a big bond sell-off this week, fell 4 basis points to 0.67%, keeping the risk premium closely watched with Bunds below the peak from four weeks it hit over 100 basis points on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the focus is on the European Central Bank, which is expected to release the minutes of its March meeting at 11:30 a.m. GMT following Wednesday’s publication by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Data on Wednesday showed that the ECB’s emergency pandemic bond purchases fell last week, likely due to a short week during the Easter holidays. But purchases in March were up 23% from February after the bank decided to speed them up to fight against rising bond yields driven by the bet that the US fiscal stimulus would boost growth and inflation.
“The accounts of the ECB’s March meeting … could provide more context for the ECB’s communication surrounding the decision, which revealed some differences within the governing council,” ING analysts said to customers.
Sources told Reuters at the time that hawkish policymakers were skeptical of increased buying and some saw the rise in nominal bond yields this year as a potentially welcome sign of economic recovery.
In the primary market, France and Spain will hold auctions on Thursday, which include debts maturing 2052 and 2044 respectively, after Italy received strong demand for a 50-year syndication on Wednesday. Similar long-term issues from other countries earlier this year sold off strongly in February, at the height of this year’s bond selloff.
“Today’s auctions in France and Spain will test the market’s appetite for semi-core duration, likely limiting the decline in short-term yields,” Christoph Rieger, Head of Rates and of Commerzbank’s credit research. (Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli; editing by John Stonestreet)