TREASURIES-Bonds slip slightly in Asia ahead of auctions

TOKYO Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:58am EST

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TOKYO Feb 25 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries slipped slightly in Asian trading on Monday ahead of auctions this week, but losses were limited as investors awaited testimony from the top U.S. central banker as well as automatic government spending cuts scheduled to take effect later this week.

* On the supply side this week, the Treasury Department will offer $35 billion of two-year notes on Monday, followed by $35 billion of five-year debt on Tuesday, and then $29 billion of seven-year notes on Wednesday.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and the Housing Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

Investors will be looking to his remarks for reassurance that the Fed will continue buying assets to support the economy and is not leaning toward curbing its easing program later this year as the economy improves.

* U.S. debt prices were underpinned by concerns about the impact of automatic U.S. government spending cuts set to begin on Friday, if Democrats and Republicans fail to agree on how to avert the so-called "sequester" cuts ahead of the deadline.

Economists said these cuts worth $85 billion would hurt the economy. Ahead of the deadline, the White House issued more dire warnings about the harm the cuts will do to Americans, breaking down the loss of jobs and services to each of the states.

* "It seems we are on course for such cuts to happen," said Tomohisa Fujiki, interest rate strategist for BNP Paribas in Tokyo. "So that will be supportive for the Treasuries market."

Still, he said that neither the spending cuts nor Bernanke's testimony were likely to be the catalyst to nudge U.S debt yields out of their recent ranges.

* Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose to 1.975 percent in Asian trade on Monday, from 1.964 percent in late U.S. trade on Friday.

* Yields on 30-year Treasuries crept higher to 3.167 percent, from 3.150 percent on Friday.

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