TOKYO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries slipped in Asian trading on Friday after a spate of upbeat Chinese economic data, though concerns about the U.S. debt ceiling issue tempered losses.
* China’s economy grew 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, strengthening from 7.4 percent in the third quarter and snapping seven straight quarters of slowing expansion. The reading beat forecasts for 7.8 percent growth.
Other Chinese data showed industrial output grew 10.3 percent last month from a year ago, topping predictions for a 10.1 percent increase, and retail sales rose 15.2 percent on the year ago, above an estimated 14.9 percent rise.
* The Chinese data came on the heels of improved U.S. data on Thursday. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low last week, though the Labor Department said the drop stemmed largely from seasonal factors.
The Commerce Department said home builders broke ground at an annualized rate of 954,000 units in December, the fastest monthly pace in four years.
* “The U.S. fundamentals are showing signs of improvement, which has pushed up Treasury yields, but losses are limited by remaining uncertainty about the debt ceiling situation,” said Hiroki Shimazu, an economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.
The U.S. Treasury said on Tuesday it would temporarily tap the retirement funds of government workers to avoid hitting the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. It has said it can only stave off default through such extraordinary measures until around mid February to early March.
A similar standoff about raising the ceiling in mid-2011 prompted Standard & Poor’s to downgraded its U.S. credit rating from the top AAA.
* Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose to 1.883 percent in Asian trade on Friday, up from 1.875 percent in late U.S. trade on Thursday.
* Yields on 30-year Treasuries rose to 3.073 percent, from 3.066 percent on Thursday.