TOKYO, March 19 (IFR) - Japanese government bond prices were steady in thin trading on Wednesday, with most accounts sidelined after finishing their buying ahead of Thursday's quarterly JGB redemptions.
The Bank of Japan offered to buy 170 billion yen ($1.68 billion) in JGBs maturing in over 10 years, following the previous session's monthly 1.2 trillion yen sale of 20-year JGBs. The purchase amount in that zone was unchanged from the last operations on March 13.
Except for the direct sales to the BOJ, domestic real money accounts were largely sidelined in the morning session, having already completed their purchases ahead of Thursday's quarterly redemption, according to JGB traders and money managers.
At midday, the yield on the current 10-year JGB was unchanged on the day at 0.615 percent.
The yield on the new 20-year JGBs was also flat at 1.520 percent, compared with 1.527 percent and 1.542 percent for the average and the highest accepted yields in Tuesday's auction.
Lead June JGB futures moved in a 144.84-144.94 range before finishing at midday up 0.06 at 144.92.
The JGB market had a muted reaction to economic data released early Wednesday. Japan's annual export growth in February was well below market expectations, but business confidence remained steady over the month.
($1 = 101.3650 Japanese Yen) (Reporting by Masatsugu Hisatsune)