TREASURIES-Prices gain as inflation data supports Fed policy
* Fall in Nov CPI points to benign inflation * Yields rise on the week under supply pressure * US fiscal crisis worries support Treasuries prices By Chris Reese NEW YORK, Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices rose on Friday after data pointed to tame inflation pressure that should allow the Federal Reserve to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy in an effort to stimulate economic growth. U.S. consumer prices fell in November for the first time in six months, the Labor Department said. Its Consumer Price Index dropped 0.3 percent last month as a sharp decline in gasoline prices offset increases in other areas. "The crux of this report is simply that the inflationary backdrop remains very benign, providing the Fed with considerable breathing room to keep monetary policy accommodative," said Millan Mulraine, a senior economist at TD Securities in New York. The tame inflation data and the outlook for easy monetary policy supported the case for lower rates, and benchmark 10-year notes rose 6/32 in price to yield 1.71 percent, down from 1.73 percent late Thursday. Thirty-year bonds were 19/32 higher to yield 2.88 percent, down from 2.90 percent. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced a new round of monetary stimulus and took the unprecedented step of indicating interest rates would remain near zero until unemployment falls to at least 6.5 percent and longer-term inflation projections remain below 2.5 percent. While Treasuries prices rose following the release of the consumer price data, a key measure of investors' inflation expectations in the U.S. bond market fell. The breakeven rates, or yield gaps between regular Treasuries and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, declined broadly, with the five-year breakeven rate dipping to 2.07 percent from 2.10 percent late on Thursday. Despite Friday's higher Treasuries prices, yields have risen through the week on supply pressure, better-than-expected data and uncertainty over the long-term impact of the Federal Reserve's latest move. The Treasury sold $66 billion of U.S. government debt this week, and next week it will offer two-year, five-year and seven-year notes, as well as five-year Treasury inflation-protected securities. Yields remain not far off historic lows however with ongoing price support from safe-haven buying in worries the U.S. government may not be able to stave off a looming fiscal crisis spurred by steep tax increases and spending cuts set to be fazed in beginning early next year. President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner held a "frank" face-to-face meeting on Thursday in an effort to break an impasse in talks to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff."
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