* Yields fall, near 3-month low as investors return * Treasury to sell $7 bln in 30-year TIPS reopening * Fed buys $1.56 bln bonds due 2038-2043 By Karen Brettell NEW YORK, Oct 24 U.S. Treasuries yields held near three-month lows on Thursday as expectations that the Federal Reserve is still months away from reducing the size of its bond-purchase program kept up strong demand for the debt. Treasuries have rallied since data on Tuesday showed that employers added fewer jobs than expected in September, stoking fears the economy was slowing even before the government's 16-day shutdown. Fed policy is seen as being very dependent on economic data, though over the coming month they are likely to be skewed by the effects of the government shutdown, limiting insight into the actual state of the economy and to what degree the shutdown and the fight over raising the debt ceiling may have harmed growth. "What we've been seeing since the government shutdown and debt ceiling was resolved is a desire to jump back into Treasuries," said Jason Rogan, managing director in Treasuries trading at Guggenheim Partners in New York. "Most market participants are of the mind that the Fed is on hold for the foreseeable future." Global economic indicators pointed to slowing growth on Thursday. U.S. manufacturing output fell for the first time in four years while the euro zone economy lost momentum, surveys on Thursday showed. Investors will be watching for any new information about Fed policy when the U.S. central bank meets next week, though it is seen as unlikely to reduce its $85 billion a month in purchases until March. Some bond buying earlier on Thursday was attributed to a report by Medley Global Advisors that noted slowing economic data will make it more difficult for the Fed to build a case to reduce its bond purchases. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last unchanged in price to yield 2.48 percent, near the three-month lows of 2.47 percent set on Wednesday. They have fallen from 3.00 percent seen on Sept. 5, before the Fed surprised investors by keeping the size of its purchase program unchanged. Yields have retraced about half of their increase in reaction to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinting, back in May, the Fed might reduce its bond purchases by late this year. The Fed bought $1.56 billion in bonds due from 2038 and 2043 on Thursday as part of its ongoing purchase program. The government will add $7 billion to a 30-year TIPS issue originally issued in February at an auction on Thursday. Traders expected the reopened 30-year TIPS supply to fetch a yield of 1.348 percent. The Treasury said on Thursday it will sell $96 billion in new coupon-bearing supply next week, including $32 billion in two-year notes on Monday, $35 billion in five-year notes on Tuesday and $29 billion in seven-year notes on Wednesday.
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