Benchmark JGBs steady ahead of weekend election
TOKYO, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Benchmark Japanese government bonds were steady on Friday ahead of this weekend's election, which is likely to bring the conservative Liberal Democratic Party back to power and set the stage for more fiscal and monetary stimulus. * Yields on 10-year JGBs were flat at 0.725 percent, after adding 2.5 basis points on Thursday to a two-week high and moving away from last week's 9 1/2 year low of 0.685 percent. * Ten-year JGB futures for March ended morning trade down 0.05 point at 144.35 point. * The latest polls show Japan's general election on Sunday is likely to result in a decisive victory for the opposition LDP, whose leader, Shinzo Abe, has called for the Bank of Japan to take more drastic steps to lift the economy and pull the country out of deflation. The so-called "Abe trade" in recent weeks has led to a weaker yen. It has also pressured prices of longer-dated JGBs on inflation fears and led the yield curve to steepen. * The Bank of Japan's latest tankan survey released on Friday showed business sentiment worsened for a second straight quarter in the three months to December and will barely improve early next year, adding to pressure on the central bank to do more. [ID:nL4N09M2TJ The BOJ will hold its last 2012 policy meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. It will most likely increase its asset-buying and lending programme, currently at 91 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion), by another 5-10 trillion yen, sources have said. * "The tankan results weren't good, though the market shrugged them off. But the long end is coming under pressure again, expecting more stimulus after the election," said a fixed-income fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm. * Yields on 30-year JGBs <JP30YT N=JBTC> and those on 20-year bonds both added half a basis point to 1.945 percent and 1.700 percent respectively.