JGBs modestly higher, supported by BOJ easing commitment
* 10-yr yields slip, moving away from last week's 3-week high
* JGB market sentiment gauge turns positive-poll
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Japanese government bonds rose for a second session on Monday, with benchmark yields moving away from a three-week high touched last week, on conviction that the Bank of Japan is committed to its easy monetary stance.
A strong 20-year auction last week also reassured investors about supply conditions.
"The long end somewhat stabilised last week. Investors are still concerned about the very long end, but I think the 15-to-18 year sector is an attractive area to extend into," said Neale Vincent, strategist at Nomura Securities in Tokyo.
BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said in a speech on Monday that the central bank remains resolved to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy, keeping alive expectations of further stimulus.
Sources familiar with BOJ thinking said the central bank will likely trim its long-term economic and price forecasts at its next meeting on Oct. 30, with no internal consensus yet on whether it will ease further.
BOJ policy is expected to support the Ministry of Finance's sale of 2-year notes on Thursday, as the central bank buys much of the new issuance of that maturity. The Ministry of Finance will hold a liquidity-enhancing sale but no major auctions are scheduled for this week.
Also underpinning JGB market sentiment, data showed Japan's exports fell more than expected in the year to September, while manufacturer sentiment hits its lowest point since early 2010.
Bonds initially got a lift from weaker Japanese equities, though the Nikkei stock average eked out a 0.1 percent gain for its sixth straight rise, its longest streak in 13 months.
"Whenever stocks move down, there are investors who want to buy bonds. But there aren't so many short JGB positions that need to be covered, or people who need to buy, so overall, the buying is not strong," said a fixed-income fund manager at a Japanese trust bank.
The benchmark 10-year JGB yield fell half a basis point to 0 .775 percent, moving away from last week's high of 0.795 percent, which was its highest since Sept. 25.
The 10-year JGB futures contract ended up 0.05 point at 144.02, below a session high of 144.13 but moving away from last week's low of 143.79, which was its lowest since Sept. 21.
The 20-year yield was flat at 1.675 percent, while the 30-year yield was flat at 1.930 percent.
A weekly Thomson Reuters survey of JGB market sentiment showed a gauge of mood turned positive after three readings in negative territory, with most respondents still expecting yields to trade sideways.
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