TREASURIES-Prices slip ahead of Fed decision
* Fed to end two-day meeting, focus on statement * U.S. GDP shows unexpected contraction in fourth quarter * Treasury to auction $29 billion of seven-year notes By Luciana Lopez NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Prices for U.S. Treasuries fell ahead of the end of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting, with investors also pushing for price concessions ahead of a debt auction. While Treasuries briefly moved higher after data showed a surprise contraction in the world's biggest economy in the fourth quarter, analysts said the figures would do little to budge the Fed from its easy policy stance. "We have a slowing in government spending associated with the fiscal situation as well as some drawdown in military activity," said Terry Sheehan, economic analyst with Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton, New Jersey. "This report doesn't have immediate implications for Fed policy. They will be unhappy with it, but it's one quarter's number," Sheehan said. Investors are now awaiting the Fed's statement at the conclusion of the bank's two-day meeting later in the day. The Fed is expected to keep monetary policy on a steady path, though behind the scenes intensive debate continues over when it should curtail its controversial bond-buying program. "They may change a couple of characterizations of how financial conditions are in Europe and things of that nature, but we're really not looking for any significant changes at all," said Rajiv Setia, head of U.S. rates research at Barclays. But he added that data might not be enough to support the move higher in yields this month. "Things are getting better, but I just don't think they're going to be good enough to sustain this increase in yields," Setia said. Still, any hints in the Fed statement that policymakers are growing nervous about easing could prompt more selling, as happened after the Fed's December meeting minutes were released on Jan. 3. In addition, the Treasury will sell $29 billion of 7-year notes on Wednesday, after having sold $70 billion in debt in two auctions earlier this week. Ten-year notes traded 5/32 lower to yield 2.015 percent, from 1.9973 percent late on Tuesday. Thirty-year bonds traded 8/32 lower to yield 3.197 percent. Yields on benchmark 10-year notes have been testing the 2 percent level since Monday, breaching that figure for the first time since April. But yields didn't get traction above that level until Wednesday, helped by a bump in risk appetite in Asian trading overnight. Investors are also awaiting nonfarm payrolls data on Friday. The Fed wants the unemployment rate to drop closer to 6.5 percent from the current 7.8 percent.
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