(Adds multi-month low closing 10-year yield, latest prices)
* News of downed fighter jet drives Treasuries buying
* Traders shrug off surprise drop in jobless claims
By Michael Connor
NEW YORK, Aug 7 U.S. Treasuries prices rose on
Thursday, knocking benchmark 10-year yields to closing lows last
seen in mid-2013, as news that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been
downed rattled investors already worried about a Russian ban of
Western food imports.
Ten-year notes, whose yields topped 2.50 percent
on Tuesday, were up 17/32 in price at the New York close to
yield 2.417 percent, the lowest payout since June 20, 2013,
according to Reuters data.
A big increase in Treasury prices, which pushed five-year
yields to a four-week low, came after a report that a Ukrainian
Mig-29 fighter was downed by rebel forces in Ukraine.
"Even before the intentional tragedy of (Malaysian airliner)
MH17, the fighter conflict over the eastern border was worrying
the market. Now you have a preview of Russian forces possibly
moving across the border," said Jim Vogel, interest rate
strategist at FTN Financial in Memphis.
Thirty-year Treasury bonds also rose, up 30/32
in price to yield 3.226 percent. The long bond had yielded as
little as 3.222 percent, very near a low touched on July 29.
Shortly after the New York open, Treasuries pared overseas
gains as data showed the number of Americans filing new claims
for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week.
But Treasuries rose again as European Central Bank President
Mario Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt that the Ukraine crisis
threatened the euro zone economy.
"Draghi seems to be striking a cautionary note," said Guy
LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott
"The thing to look at is the relative value between U.S. and
European rates," LeBas said. "With the German 10-year (yielding)
below 1.1 percent, it is easy see why many investors would be
interested in the U.S. market."
Ten-year Bund yields dropped 3 basis points to
a record low 1.07 percent amid fears the Ukrainian crisis and
tit-for-tat sanctions with Russia may threaten Europe's fragile
Russia said on Wednesday it would ban all food imports from
the United States and all fruit and vegetables from Europe in
response to Western sanctions on Moscow.
"The real issue is how the sanctions are going to influence
economic activity," LeBas said. "One estimate puts the cost of
Russia's refusal to import foreign food at as much as 2 percent.
That would have a big negative economic impact."
(Reporting by Michael Connor in New York; Editing by Bernadette
Baum, Dan Grebler and Jeffrey Benkoe)