* BoE close to raising rates for first time in decade
* U.S., euro zone eyeing end of easy monetary policy
* Euro zone periphery govt bond yields http://tmsnrt.rs/2ii2Bqr
LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Euro zone government bond yields rose in step with British equivalents on Thursday as investors waited to find out if the Bank of England would join a raft of global policymakers leaning towards tightening monetary conditions.
The BoE appears to be getting close to raising rates for the first time in a decade, with three of eight policymakers calling for a hike at the last meeting in June as unemployment hit a four-decade low and inflation soared above the Bank's target. The Bank is not expected to raise rates on Thursday, but if chief economist Andy Haldane votes for a hike to keep the decision close that would be seen as a hawkish surprise.
The BoE is also likely to edge up its inflation forecasts slightly but lower its growth forecasts in a sign that Britain's impending departure from the European Union is taking its toll on the economy.
"The market focus today will be squarely on the BoE's August Inflation Report and the accompanying press conference," RBC's global macro strategist Peter Schaffrik said.
Across the continent, investors are also wary of the possibility that the European Central Bank may make changes to its aggressive stimulus. Yields on benchmark German Bunds have doubled since President Mario Draghi floated that idea in a speech on June 27.
For its part, the U.S. Federal Reserve is also weighing up another rate hike later this year and may in the coming months announce steps to trim its massive balance sheet.
San Francisco Fed President John Williams said on Wednesday that the U.S. economy will likely be strong enough for the Federal Reserve to trim its bond holdings in September.
German 10-year bond yields rose 1 basis point to 0.50 percent on Thursday, heading towards an 18-month high of 0.55 percent hit in mid-July, and double levels seen early on June 27.
British equivalents also rose 1 bps to 1.24 percent .
The gap between the two benchmarks stood at 75 basis points, some 10 basis points above a one-year low of 0.65 percent hit in mid-July.
Analysts said auctions by Spain and France of long-term bonds on Thursday was also pushing yields higher across the bloc.
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(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)