Euro zone government bond yields rose on Tuesday as investors focused on U.S. inflation data while also waiting for a European Central Bank policy meeting due later this week.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose 2 basis points (bps) in London trade after hitting its highest level in more than three years ahead of data that may provide further clues about how hawkish the Federal Reserve will need to be on its policy path.
Thursday's ECB meeting could mark another tense moment for policymakers caught between record high inflation and the economic hit from the war in Ukraine.
Germany's 10-year government bond yield, the euro zone benchmark, rose 5 basis points (bps) to 0.862% after hitting its highest since July 2015 at 0.879%.
German investor sentiment fell by less than expected in April, a survey showed on Tuesday, as a decline in inflation expectations gave some cause for hope about the outlook for Europe's largest economy.
"Today's (U.S.) inflation figures should further add weight to expectations of 50 bp rate hikes in both May and June," Commerzbank analysts said, after flagging that they expect a 8.4% year-on-year rate.
German inflation-linked rates rose 2 bps to -1.823%, while U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) were up 3 bps at -0.115%.
ING has "an above-consensus call for 8.7% (U.S. inflation) headline and 6.7% core year-on-year," the bank said in a research note.
U.S. consumer prices data for March is due at 1230 GMT.
"We expect U.S. inflation to peak in March, and a downside surprise is possible today," said Rohan Khanna, macro rates strategist at UBS. "However, even in this case, we would need a stream of relatively weak prints for the market to start building some faith that consumer price increases have peaked," he added.
The spread between German and French 10-year bond yields widened but was still below 50 bps after tightening on Monday after French leader Emmanuel Macron came out with the most significant proportion of the vote in the first round of the presidential election.
Far-right challenger Marine Le Pen is right behind Macron in the polls for the runoff, which is due on April 24.
"The key in coming days is likely to be the voting behaviour of around 25% of left-wing voters. Following this (French-German yield spread) tightening, we see it prudent to maintain our hedges into the second round," Citi analysts said.
The French 10-year government bond yield rose 4.5 bps to 1.359%, with the spread to its German peer widening 1 bps to 48.8.
The spread is below 50 bps as "investors think that the French people will come out and vote in favour of Macron on April 24," UBS's Khanna added.
(Reporting by Stefano Rebaudo)
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