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Emerging Debt-Spreads tighten; market awaits issuance, U.S. data

January 11, 2005 | Reuters

Emerging market sovereign bond spreads tightened slightly on Monday in thin trade, but activity is seen picking up later in the week on the expectation that seasonal debt issuance will finally hit the market.

Investors were also keenly aware of U.S. data and the impact they might have on U.S. interest rate policy.

The JP Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index Plus (EMBI+) was overall one basis point (bp) tighter against benchmark U.S. Treasuries at 369 basis points.

"It's fairly quiet today. There are concerns about new issuance," said Paul Fage, emerging markets sovereign strategist at CSFB in London. "There is talk about Turkey doing some issuing fairly soon. Also, people are keeping a close eye on U.S. Treasuries."

Poland is also expected to sell 1.0-1.5 billion euros' worth of eurobonds this week.

Last week, U.S Treasuries dropped after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting revealed the central bank's concern about inflation, causing short-term yields to hit 2-1/2 year highs.

U.S. government debt prices edged lower on Monday after Friday's jobs data showed non-farm payrolls rose 157,000 in December. The figure was less than expected but payrolls for the previous two months were revised higher, leaving the market focus on the Fed's inflation concerns.

More substantial U.S. data due later in the week is likely to keep trading subdued and attention skewed toward U.S. Treasury moves.

Jobless claims data is expected on Thursday. A Reuters poll estimated jobless claims for the week ending-January 9 fell to 340,000 from 364,000 from the previous week.

Also out this week are retail sales, which a Reuters poll estimated rose 1 percent in December and producer prices, which were expected to fall 0.1 percent in December.

"The market is stronger, but very slow. I think to some degree there is a checking on the economic data , but this is always part of the process," said one trader at a European bank in London.

Turkey's portion of the EMBI+ showed yield spreads unchanged at 267, with total returns up 0.05 percent on the day after Turkish industrial production was slightly below economists' forecasts in November, rising 9.6 percent as a result of a low base effect a year earlier.

Russian sovereign bonds traded lightly given the local market holiday. Russia's sovereign benchmark bond due 2030 fell 0.062 points to bid 102.063, yielding 6.606 percent.

Russia's portion of the EMBI+ showed yield spreads widen one basis point to 221 bps while total returns were up 0.16 percent.

Spreads on Philippine sovereign dollar bonds tightened on the hope the government's fiscal position is improving.

The Philippine government voiced hope that it could eliminate its budget deficit by 2008, two years ahead of schedule, if lawmakers pass a series of revenue-raising bills.

Philippine sovereign dollar bonds due 2013 rose 0.5 points at 103.25 to yield 8.44 percent.



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