Benchmark JGBs weaken slightly as BOJ decision awaited

TOKYO Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:18pm EST

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TOKYO Nov 20 (Reuters) - Benchmark Japanese government bonds slipped slightly on Tuesday as investors awaited the outcome of the Bank of Japan's regular policy meeting, while the recently battered superlong tenor edged up on bargain hunting.

* The BOJ may hold off on any further stimulus steps until early next year as it assesses the policies of Japan's next government following an election on Dec. 16.

* Shinzo Abe, leader of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party and likely Japan's next prime minister, has even suggested revising the BOJ law, and calling on the central bank to directly underwrite bonds issued to fund public works spending.

* The LDP is likely to include in its campaign platform a pledge to consider revising a law guaranteeing central bank independence, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Tuesday.

* "Abe's remarks in recent days caused the yield curve to steepen as the superlong maturities dropped on concern about what is to come," said a fixed-income fund manager at a European asset management firm in Tokyo.

"We expect the curve to stay steep, but perhaps not much beyond current levels, because recent superlong auctions confirmed that there is still demand from domestic investors for longer maturities," he said.

* The 10-year JGB futures contract ended morning trade down 0.01 point at 144.61, moving away from a nine-year high of 144.73 hit on Friday but still holding above support at the 5-day moving average, now at 144.59.

* In cash trading, 10-year yields inched up half a basis point to 0.735 percent.

* The superlong sector edged slightly higher. Yields on 20-year debt and on 30-year bonds both slipped half a basis point to 1.670 percent and 1.940 percent, respectively.

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