EURO GOVT-Bunds fall to day's low after healthy Spanish sale
* Spain sells at upper-end of target, yields fall at auction
* Bund sells-off into auction, hits session low after
* French auction also meets strong demand
LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - German Bund futures fell on Thursday as healthy demand at a Spanish bond sale underscored the country's ability to raise funds with greater ease, allowing it to continue to avoid a sovereign bailout. Improved sentiment towards struggling euro zone economies helped Spain cut its borrowing costs as it sold just above the top end of its target range. With this auction, Spain has already completed close to 9 percent of its 2013 longer-term borrowing needs. "They did not exceed their target but the auction was by and large satisfactory," Sergio Capaldi, fixed income strategist at Intesa SanPaolo said. "It's another small step towards the complete normalization of the financing conditions in Spain." The German Bund future fell to a session low of 142.70 after the auction, having started to sell off before the sale on expectations of a good result. It was 56 ticks lower on the day at 142.81, having opened in positive territory and after three days of gains. Ten-year Spanish yields were little changed, up 1.3 basis points on the day at 5.07 percent. "Yields were lower than at the past auction, demand looks good. It fits in the trend we've seen so far. It is a reflection of strong liquidity and improved sentiment towards peripherals," Alan Mcquaid, chief economist at Merrion Stockbrokers, said.
AMPLE LIQUIDITY France also saw firm demand at a short- and medium-term debt sale as the country continued to benefit from investors looking for higher return that those on safe-haven German debt. The 2015 French bond saw bids worth 2.9 times the amount on offer, while the 2017 bond attracted a 2.8 bid-cover and the 2018 bond a 1.9 bid-cover. French yields rose in the secondary market after the auction as the market absorbed the supply, also tracking a broader sell-off in safer debt. Ten-year yields were were 5.1 basis points higher at 2.18 percent. Appetite has been strong for both the least risky and lower-rated bonds at auctions this year - a phenomenon ascribed to ample liquidity as investors allocate funds at the start of the year and to an overhang from major central banks' ultra-loose monetary policies. To play on this trend while not taking on too much risk, Rabobank recommends buying Belgian debt and selling Dutch, according to Elwin de Groot, a senior market economist at the bank. "It's not a long-term position but it's more the idea that in the near term there is such a huge amount of liquidity," he added. Ten-year Belgian bonds yielded 2.27 percent, compared to 1.75 percent on the equivalent Dutch bond .