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TOKYO, May 2 (IFR) - Japanese government bond prices were mostly firm on Friday, with most tenors supported by buying ahead of a long holiday weekend in Japan.
Tokyo markets will be closed for Japan's Golden Week string of holidays, and will reopen from next Wednesday.
In early trading, several real money accounts bought 6-year and 10-year JGBs in relatively large amounts, to average down their costs following a continued fall in U.S. Treasury yields overnight, ahead of key U.S. employment data later this session.
U.S. Treasury prices rose on Thursday, pushing yields on long-dated bonds to multi-month lows, as investors continued to cover short positions ahead of the nonfarm payrolls report later on Friday.
The yield on 30-year JGBs turned modestly weaker after the Bank of Japan's purchase operations. The BOJ offered to buy 400 billion yen ($3.91 billion) of JGBs maturing in more than 5 years and within 10 years, in addition to 110 billion yen of JGBs maturing in less than 1 year. Most market participants had expected the BOJ to buy 170 billion yen of JGBs maturing in more than 10 years.
In early afternoon trading, the yield on the current 5-year JGBs was unchanged on the day at 0.190 percent.
The benchmark 10-year yield as well as the 20-year yield inched down half a basis point to 0.610 percent and 1.470 percent respectively. The 30-year yield was flat at 1.705 percent, after rising as high as 1.710 percent earlier.
Ten-year lead June JGB futures moved in a narrow 144.99 to 145.05 range in the morning session before finishing at midday up 0.07 point at 145.04, and were last up 0.13 point at 145.10.
Early in the session, data showed Japanese household spending soared at the fastest annual pace in 39 years in March as consumers rushed to beat a sales tax hike that kicked off in April, which some fear could set the stage for a pullback in consumption that could hamper the economic recovery in coming months.
Other data showed the jobless rate held steady at a nearly seven-year low and the availability of jobs continued to improve.
The mostly upbeat economic data had a limited negative impact on JGBs, as many money managers remain focused on gauging the impact of the tax hike in the April-June quarter, according to a few domestic pension fund managers. ($1 = 102.2700 Japanese Yen) (Reporting by Masatsugu Hisatsune; Editing by Eric Meijer)