* Republicans propose short-term raise of the debt ceiling
* U.S. existing homes sales fall unexpectedly in December
* German investor sentiment rises sharply in January
By Chris Reese
NEW YORK, Jan 22 U.S. Treasury debt prices
slipped on Tuesday as a strong German market sentiment survey
and a U.S. Republican proposal for a limited rise in the debt
ceiling curbed demand for safe-haven assets.
Price losses were pared however after data showing an
unexpected fall in existing home sales in December sparked some
worries over the pace of recovery in the housing market.
In Washington, Republican leaders in the House of
Representatives said they aim to pass a measure on Wednesday
that would allow the government to borrow the money it needs to
pay its bills for nearly four months more, to May 19.
Investors had worried that fighting over the debt ceiling
could force the U.S. to delay payments on its debt.
"The worst fears of a disorderly default in early March
won't come to pass apparently," said William O'Donnell, head of
U.S. Treasury strategy at RBS Securities in Stamford,
However, other fiscal deadlines loom, including a March 1
launch of automatic spending cuts and a March 27 expiration of
funding for government agencies and programs.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were trading
4/32 lower in price to yield 1.85 percent, up from 1.84 percent
late Friday. The U.S. Treasury market was closed on Monday in
observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Germany's ZEW analyst and investor sentiment survey beat
expectations in January with a sharp rise for the second month
in a row, in a sign the euro zone crisis is no longer hitting
Europe's largest economy as hard as in late 2012.
The rise in yields on Tuesday was limited by an announcement
by the Bank of Japan that its open-ended commitment to buy
assets would kick in only next year, disappointing those who
expected more aggressive measures.
The National Association of Realtors said existing home
sales dropped 1.0 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 4.94 million units. While that was still the
second highest rate of sales since November 2009, when a federal
tax credit for home buyers was due to expire, it was below the
median forecast of a 5.1 million-unit rate in a Reuters poll.
"Existing home sales number was a little bit of a
disappointment. Housing data has been improving over the past
several months, but what will be important is the spring buying
season. That data will show if this so-called recovery in
housing continues," said Jonathan Garber, macro analyst at
Briefing.com in Chicago.
Thirty-year Treasury bonds were trading 9/32
lower in price to yield 3.04 percent, up from 3.03 percent late