* Copper hits near four-year lows
* Ukraine tensions drive safe-haven bids
* Treasury to sell $21 bln in 10-year notes
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices rose in safe-haven bids on Wednesday as worries surrounding the health of China’s economy overshadowed the U.S. government’s upcoming auction of 10-year Treasury notes.
Copper’s fall to near four-year lows and China’s first domestic bond default have raised concerns about a possible unraveling of the many loan deals which have used the metal as collateral.
“We’re seeing a resumption of safe-haven trades” on the concerns over China, said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income at Action Economics in San Francisco.
Shanghai copper fell by its 5-percent daily limit on Wednesday and London copper touched a 44-month low. Bearish sentiment has swept through the copper market since a bond default by Chinese solar panel company Chaori Solar Friday ignited worries about credit market risk in the country.
Adding to recent concerns over the Chinese economy, data on Saturday showed China’s exports unexpectedly tumbled in February, swinging the trade balance into deficit.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury note last traded up 9/32 in price to yield 2.734 percent, up in price from a yield of 2.766 percent late on Tuesday. Bond yields move inversely to their prices.
Geopolitical tensions over Russia and Ukraine also added to investor worries and fueled demand for safe-haven Treasuries.
Ukraine’s government appealed for Western help on Tuesday to stop Moscow annexing Crimea, but the Black Sea peninsula, overrun by Russian troops, seemed fixed on a course that could formalize rule from Moscow within days.
The worries over China and lingering concerns over Ukraine overshadowed the Treasury’s upcoming auction of $21 billion in 10-year notes at 1 p.m. (1700 GMT). Traders typically sell U.S. Treasuries to make room for new supply.
Treasuries prices could still face some pressure this afternoon ahead of the auction despite the most recent flight-to-quality bid for bonds, said Larry Dyer, chief U.S. interest rate strategist at HSBC Securities in New York.
The 30-year U.S. Treasury bond rose 21/32 in price to yield 3.67 percent, up in price from a yield of 3.708 percent late on Tuesday.