By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries slid on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she strongly supported the Fed’s monetary policy strategy, suggesting the central bank’s current reduction in asset purchases was on track.
Yields on the 10-year note climbed to 2.71 percent from around 2.68 percent, but still remain within the 2.724-2.636 percent range hit after a softer-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls report last Friday.
In prepared remarks released ahead of her appearance in Congress, Yellen said she expected to continue trimming stimulus in measured steps due to broader improvements in the economy.
“If you split hairs, maybe there were some who were hoping for a pause in tapering. But frankly, we weren’t expecting that,” said Mike Cullinane, head of Treasuries trading, at D.A. Davidson, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“We would need a really bad (payroll) print to change course. We will likely see a revisit to 2.80 percent on the 10-year note rather than a further rally toward 2.50 percent.”
Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last down 10/32 in price to yield 2.71 percent, while 30-year bonds fell 11/32 to yield 3.68 percent.
Five-year notes were down 7/32 in price to yield 1.52 percent, while seven-year notes were 9/32 lower with a yield of 2.17 percent.
Yellen acknowledged some weakness in the U.S. labor market and made reference to volatility in global financial markets, but said at this stage it did “not pose a substantial risk to the U.S. economic outlook.”
“The Fed is not waving any panic banner related to either emerging markets or some of the soft jobs numbers that are coming out,” said Michael Temple, senior vice president at Pioneer investments in Boston.
Later in the session, the Treasury will auction $30 billion in three-year notes, which is expected to have solid demand.