TREASURIES-T-note prices gain on U.S. spending cuts concerns

LONDON Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:58am EST

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LONDON Jan 24 (Reuters) - U.S. government bond prices rose on Thursday, as investors sought safe havens due to concerns about potential automatic spending cuts in the world's top economy and weak French data.

* A Republican plan to extend the U.S. Treasury's borrowing authority will allow it to borrow money through mid-May, temporarily easing default concerns, which have recently caused a sell-off in U.S. T-bills but supported longer-term notes.

* But after the plan's approval on Wednesday in the House of Representatives, speaker John Boehner said Republicans would take the next opportunity - automatic spending cuts set for March 1 - to demand reforms from President Barack Obama.

* "Tensions are ongoing and this may be one of the factors playing in today," said Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion Stockbrokers. "But I think they'll kick the can down the road in the end and eventually come to a solution."

* U.S. 10-year T-note yields were 1.4 basis points lower to 1.8136 percent. T-note futures were last 11/64 higher at 132-15/32.

* U.S. yields fell in tandem with those of triple-A rated German Bunds early in the European session, after data showed French business activity shrank in January to the lowest level since March 2009.

* McQuaid said North Korean plans to carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States was also giving a bid to safe-havens.

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