TREASURIES-U.S. 10-year notes supported by fiscal crisis worries

SINGAPORE Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:37pm EST

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SINGAPORE Nov 28 (Reuters) - U.S. 10-year Treasuries held steady on Wednesday, clinging to gains made the previous day on worries about the lack of progress toward averting a fiscal crisis that could derail an economic recovery.

* At issue is the so-called "fiscal cliff", a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that will begin in early 2013 unless Congress and the White House agree on measures to avoid them.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday that he is disappointed that there has been "little progress" among Democratic and Republican lawmakers as they try to reach a deal to avoid the year-end "fiscal cliff".

* Ten-year notes held steady in price in Asia to yield roughly 1.639 percent, little changed from late U.S. trade on Tuesday. Worries about the lack of headway in the fiscal negotiations had helped drag the 10-year yield down by about 3 basis points on Tuesday.

* While bond yields are likely to climb if a deal is reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, whether there will be a sustained rise will hinge on the contents of the deal, said a portfolio manager for a major Japanese bank in Tokyo.

If there is only an agreement to buy time and put off the fiscal cliff for three to six months or a year, concerns over political deadlock are likely to persist, he said. In that case, a rise in the 10-year yield may prove short-lived, with buyers likely to step in at levels near 1.9 percent, he added.

Treasury yields, however, could see a more enduring rise if a so-called "grand bargain" is struck over long-term deficit reductions, the portfolio manager said.

"That would dispel worries about politics and Congress, and could make it easier for risky assets to head higher over the medium to longer term. Bonds are likely to be sold initially and bond yields might keep heading higher from there," he said.

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