TOKYO, Feb 17 (IFR) - Japanese government bond prices mostly
inched lower on Monday, shrugging off disappointing economic
data in very thin trading as the Bank of Japan began its two-day
policy meeting at which it was expected to stay the course.
The yield on benchmark 10-year notes added
half a basis point to 0.590 percent, but was still wallowing
around its lowest levels since mid-November.
In mid-morning trading, the 20-year zone turned weaker,
sending its yield up one basis point to 1.450
percent, ahead of Wednesday's monthly 1.2 trillion yen ($11.78
billion) auction of 20-year JGBs.
The BOJ did not offer to buy any superlong JGBs in the
secondary market under its massive JGB purchase programme,
instead just seeking a total of 900 billion yen of 1-year to
10-year JGBs in three tranches.
The BOJ is expected to stand pat at its meeting and maintain
its commitment of increasing base money, its key policy gauge,
at an annual pace of 60-70 trillion yen.
The JGB market had a muted reaction to news that Japan's
economy grew less than expected in the fourth quarter of last
year as consumer spending, business investment and exports
disappointed in a worrying sign of waning momentum ahead of
April's planned sales tax increase.
The 0.3 percent expansion in the October-December quarter
fell short of the median estimate for a 0.7 percent increase,
and matched 0.3 percent growth in July-September.
Lead March JGB futures moved in a narrow
144.95-145.03 range before finishing midday down 0.02 point at