JGBs extend losses after lacklustre 20-year auction
* BOJ's Miyao offers no concrete steps to maintain bond market stability * 10-yr futures extend losses in afternoon By Lisa Twaronite TOKYO, May 28 (Reuters) - Japanese government bonds skidded on Tuesday, with the benchmark yield moving back toward last week's 13-month high, after a 20-year sale disappointed some investors and a Bank of Japan official offered no specific steps on market operations. BOJ board member Ryuzo Miyao told a news conference on Tuesday it was vital to keep long- and short-term interest rates on a stable path. His remarks offered little in the way of concrete reassurance to a market left reeling by the central bank's massive stimulus scheme unveiled on April 4, under which it is buying a monthly amount equivalent to 70 percent of JGB issuance. Miyao's comments, combined with a recovery in recently languishing Japanese shares, added to the pallor cast by the downbeat auction outcome. "The auction was a little bit weaker than expected," said Tadashi Matsukawa, head of fixed-income at Pinebridge Investments in Tokyo. "It was only driven by dealers' shortcovering. Tomorrow we'll probably have BOJ operations, and that might help, particularly at the long end of the curve," he said. The 10-year sector is likely to underperform ahead of next week's auction in that tenor, he added. The yield on the 10-year cash bonds extended its rise in late afternoon, adding 7 basis points to 0.905 percent, and moving back toward last Thursday's high of 1 percent. The 10-year JGB futures contract ended down 0.59 point at 141.84 after dropping as low as 141.70 in the afternoon session, as the Nikkei share average managed to end 1.2 percent higher. Miyao said BOJ policy would keep downward pressure on interest rates and that the central bank would continue to pursue flexible market operations by increasing scope and frequency. He re-emphasized the central bank's stance that it will fine-tune market operations and enhance communication with market participants. The BOJ will hold a meeting with JGB market participants on Wednesday. The Ministry of Finance offered 1.2 trillion yen ($11.87 billion) of 20-year notes, reopening issue number 143, which carries a 1.6 percent coupon. The notes sold at a lowest price of 98.60, below expectations, and drew bids of 2.54 times the amount offered, down from the previous sale's bid-to-cover ratio of 3.68 times. The tail between the average and lowest accepted prices came in at 0.21, the same as last month's offering. The 20-year bond extended losses after the sale, its yield adding 3.5 basis points to 1.700 percent. The 30-year bond yield rose 2 basis points to 1.835 percent, "Institutional investors have some scope to buy, but some are hesitant and are waiting a little longer to watch where the market is heading," said a fixed-income fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm. Market participants and strategists expect that some funds might use the rise in yields as an opportunity for dip-buying in the last trading week of May. Funds often buy near the end of a month to extend the duration of their bond portfolios.
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