TREASURIES-Prices edge lower, paring its recent gains
* Investors eyeing ECB on Thursday, jobs data Friday * China's move to cool property market stokes growth worries * Italy edges closer to another election By Luciana Lopez NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices edged lower on Monday as investors weighed recent price gains against political uncertainty in Italy and worries about growth in China. Choppy trading kept U.S. government debt well within recent ranges. Treasuries could likely stay rangebound, as well, for much of the week, as markets await a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday and key U.S. jobs data on Friday. "The market's a bit expensive to really go 'gung-ho' and buy at this point even though there's a lot of risk," said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics LLC in San Francisco. Prices for 10-year Treasuries slipped 4/32 to yield 1.857 percent on Monday from 1.8446 percent late on Friday. Prices for 30-year bonds fell 5/32 to yield 3.063 percent, despite having risen earlier in the session. Some of the global risk worries came from China, with investors fretting government actions to cool the heated property market could weigh on growth. Ongoing political turmoil in Italy also dented investor's appetite for risk. After last month's inconclusive election, the country could be inching closer towards another election within months. "It's less about Italy per se than voter and political reaction to austerity," said Jim Vogel, interest rate strategist at FTN Financial in Memphis. Those reactions to budget austerity have broader implications for much of Europe. While the euro zone sovereign debt crisis has quieted recently, problem spots such as Spain and Italy remain. Nor are the problems confined to the monetary union, as worries have flared recently about the possibility of another slide into recession in the United Kingdom. Investors this week will eye the ECB's rate decision on Thursday. With analysts in a Reuters poll expecting policymakers to stand pat, a surprise rate cut could jolt markets out of recent ranges. On Friday, investors will wait for key U.S. jobs data. Analysts in a Reuters poll see non-farm payrolls rising by 160,000. The U.S. Federal Reserve has emphasized the need to see a lower unemployment rate in weighing monetary policy. Until that rate, currently at 7.9 percent, edges closer to the bank's goal of 6.5 percent, analysts say the bank is unlikely to tighten its ultra-loose policy.
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