TREASURIES-U.S. bonds steady, budget talks in focus
LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices held steady on Monday, with demand for liquid assets underpinned by worries about wrangling over a potential fiscal tightening in early 2013 that could tip the U.S. economy back into recession. * Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday that he "can't promise" the United States won't go over the so-called fiscal cliff of $600 billion worth of tax increases and reduced outlays scheduled to automatically take effect next year. He insisted it was up to congressional Republicans to avert it. * Treasuries prices slipped briefly in Asian trade after data showing Chinese manufacturing activity quickened for the first time in 13 months in November but the losses were quickly reversed as the focus turned back to the U.S. budget talks. * "Some people are thinking that the risk of the fiscal cliff has moved up considerably. There's been a lot of conversation over that and that's keeping the market supported," a trader said. * Yields on 10-year T-notes were last at 1.616 percent, the same as in late U.S. trade on Friday. Benchmark yields dipped by seven basis points in November, their largest monthly fall since July, as concern lawmakers would not be able to reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff bolstered bonds. * "We would expect yields to remain around the 1.60 level as this debate continues," another trader said. * Yields on 30-year Treasuries were up slightly at 2.812 percent from 2.810 percent on Friday. * The budget standoff is exacerbating a fragile economic backdrop where growth is still anaemic and unemployment remains historically high, analysts say. * On Friday, spending dropped for the first time in five months in October, while a private report showed business activity in the upper Midwest region barely grew in November.
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