TREASURIES-U.S. debt steady in Asia as "fiscal cliff" eyed

TOKYO Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:10am EST

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TOKYO Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries were steady in Asia on Thursday, as investors awaited developments on Washington's "fiscal cliff" budget stalemate.

* U.S. debt prices remained underpinned by the possibility that Congress would fail to reach a deal before Jan. 1 to avert the $600 billion of spending cuts and tax hikes that economists fear could tip the U.S. economy back into recession.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday urged the Senate to pass its version of legislation to avert the "fiscal cliff."

* "Sooner or later, they will resolve this situation somehow, but no one knows the timing of this, or the moves each side will take toward the outcome," said a fixed-income fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm in Tokyo.

"In that way, it's a little like watching a professional wrestling match," he added.

* Yields on 10-year Treasuries were at 1.76 percent on Thursday in Asian trade, steady from late U.S. trade on Wednesday.

* Yields on 30-year Treasuries stood at 2.93 percent, also steady from Wednesday.

* On the supply side, the U.S. Federal Reserve will buy bonds on Thursday and Friday as part of the waning days of its "Operation Twist" stimulus program, in which it bought long-term debt to drive down interest rates, funding its purchases with sales of short-term notes. The Fed will replace this program next year with outright bond purchases of maturities ranging from five- to 30-years.

On Thursday, the Fed will buy up to $5.25 billion in notes due 2018-2020, followed by up to $5.25 billion in notes due 2021-2022 on Friday.

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