TOKYO, April 20 U.S. Treasuries stayed firm in
Asia on Friday after downbeat U.S. economic data, as investors
looked ahead to weekend meetings of the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund for the latest developments on
containing Europe's debt crisis.
* A better-than-feared outcome of a Spanish debt auction
failed to vanquish anxiety about the euro zone's ability to
finance its debt, which continued to underpin Treasuries. The
yield on 10-year Spanish bonds rose after the debt sale,
suggesting investors remain concerned.
* The International Monetary Fund is likely to achieve the
touted $400 billion boost to its financial firepower to contain
the euro zone debt crisis, Japan's finance minister Jun Azumi
said on Thursday.
* "If the IMF manages to raise its targeted amount, there
would be no market impact, but if it falls short, or if some
other problems arise, then the risk-off sentiment would be good
for Treasuries," said Hiroki Shimazu, an economist in Tokyo at
SMBC Nikko Securities.
* Investors also awaited an election in France on Sunday, in
which President Nicolas Sarkozy will face Socialist Francois
Hollande, with opinion polls giving the challenger a
double-digit lead for a May 6 runoff.
* The yield on the 10-year notes was at 1.96
percent, matching its level in late U.S. trade, and below 1.98
percent in Asian trade on Thursday.
* The 30-year bond yield was at 3.12 percent,
slightly up from 3.11 in late U.S. trading but below 3.13
percent in Asia on Thursday.
* Thursday's U.S. economic data showed higher-than-forecast
new U.S. jobless claims last week, a slowdown in factory
activity in the Mid-Atlantic region and a drop in U.S. home
* The data comes ahead of next week's U.S. Federal Reserve
meeting on April 24-25 at which the central bank is not expected
to take any new policy steps, but the latest economic indicators
make the Fed more likely to reiterate its pledge to keep rates
low and support the economy as long needed.