TREASURIES-U.S. 10-year notes steady, focus on fiscal talks

SINGAPORE Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:43pm EST

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SINGAPORE Dec 26 (Reuters) - U.S. 10-year Treasuries held steady in Asia on Wednesday, with investors waiting to see whether U.S. lawmakers will reach a last-minute deal to avoid a looming fiscal crunch.

* Ten-year notes held steady in price to yield roughly 1.776 percent, little changed from late U.S. trade on Monday. The U.S. bond market was closed on Tuesday for Christmas.

* Fears that lawmakers might not reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of steep tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect next year, have helped support safe-haven Treasuries over the past several trading sessions.

* U.S. lawmakers may still have time to forge a stop-gap agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff before the end of the year, said Tomoaki Shishido, a rate analyst for Nomura Securities in Tokyo.

"I think there is about a 50 percent chance of the cliff being avoided at the year-end through an agreement of some kind, even if it turns out to be just a short-term postponement," Shishido said. The chances that there would be a drop off the cliff without any deal were also probably about 50 percent, he said.

Equities will probably react more than Treasuries if there is no agreement by the year-end, Shishido said, adding that Treasury yields are likely to decline in that case.

President Barack Obama is cutting short his Hawaiian holiday to leave for Washington on Wednesday to address the unfinished fiscal cliff negotiations with Congress, the White House said on Tuesday.

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