* Benchmark yields fall below 2.75 percent to 2-month lows
* Longer-dated yields notch 4th week of decline
* Fed bought $3.30 billion Treasuries due 2020
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, Jan 24 U.S. Treasuries prices rose on
Friday with benchmark yields hitting near two-month lows on
safe-haven bids for bonds stemming from worries about tightening
credit conditions in China and a looming currency crisis in
Those worries since Thursday have spurred selling in global
stock markets and other riskier investments as investors
scrambled into the relative safety of cash and U.S. and German
"We've seen a significant rally on a risk-off sentiment
caused by events overseas," said Jake Lowery, portfolio manager
for global rates at ING U.S. Investment Management in Atlanta,
Beijing's effort to rein in its unhealthy growth in
high-risk lending has stoked concerns about how that might
impede expansion of the world's second largest economy.
Argentina meanwhile abandoned support of its currency on the
open market this week, resulting in the peso's biggest drop
since the 2002 financial crisis. Although chances of Argentina's
woes rippling across Latin America are remote, investors are
worried this could hurt the currencies of Argentina's major
Safety bids for Treasuries stemming from concerns about
China and emerging markets were mitigated by caution ahead of
next week's $111 billion in longer-dated U.S. government debt
supply and the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting,
analysts and traders said.
Benchmark 10-year Treasuries notes were up 11/32
in price with a yield of 2.733 percent, down 4 basis points from
late on Thursday. The 10-year yield fell to 2.706 percent
earlier, which was below its 100-day moving average and the
lowest intraday level since Nov. 26, according to Reuters data.
Ten-year and 30-year yields notched four
straight weeks of declines, a move which has not happened since
last March to early April.
On Wall Street, the three major stock indexes stumbled for a
second straight day with the Standard & Poor's 500 index
falling 1.6 percent.
The bond market was also supported by the bond purchase from
the Fed for its stimulus program. The central bank bought $3.30
billion in U.S. government debt that matures Feb. 2020 to Dec.
2020 for its third round of quantitative easing.
Fed policy-makers will meet next Tuesday and Wednesday and
consider whether to further scale back QE3 that is aimed at
holding down long-term borrowing costs to help the economy.
In December, the Federal Open Market Committee pared its
monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities
by $10 billion to $75 billion in January. The Fed's
policy-setting group is expected by some analysts to cut its
monthly purchases by another $10 billion at its upcoming
"Any dovish change in the tone of the Fed statement could
move the markets given the preponderance of people who believe
there will be a $10 billion taper," said Ira Jersey, U.S.
interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse in New York.