TOKYO, Feb 1 Benchmark Japanese government bonds
were steady on Friday, ahead of key U.S. employment data later
in the session which could give a clearer picture of the U.S.
* "Month-end buying wrapped up, and there is not much
movement today, ahead of the payrolls," said a fixed-income fund
manager at a European asset management firm in Tokyo.
"Looking overseas, if there is big move in yields in either
direction on a upside or downside surprise, that could have some
influence here, but except for that, there is no near-term
directional factor," he said.
* The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, due at 1330 GMT, is
forecast to show a rise of 160,000 jobs, with the unemployment
rate expected to remain steady at 7.8 percent.
A better-than-expected figure could raise expectations that
the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to curb its asset-buying
stimulus within this year, which would sap demand for U.S.
Treasuries and in turn likely pressure JGBs.
* The 10-year JGB yield was flat at 0.750
percent, remaining solidly between last week's six-week low of
0.720 percent and Wednesday's two-week high of 0.775 percent.
* The 10-year JGB futures contract ended morning
trade slightly lower, shedding 0.05 point to 144.25.
* The superlong tenor outperformed, although volume was
light. The 20-year yield fell half a basis point
to 1.765 percent, and the 30-year bond yield lost
1.5 basis points to 1.970 percent.