* Dearth of U.S. economic data puts focus on geopolitics
* Tuesday’s lower-than-expected U.S. CPI spurs continued buying
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters) - U.S. long-term Treasury debt prices edged higher for a third straight session on Wednesday on continued safe-haven demand as global tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine persisted.
Buying in Treasuries also held steady following Tuesday’s benign U.S. consumer inflation number, which suggested the Federal Reserve is not in a hurry to raise interest rates.
“We’re marginally higher and this is due to a combination of yesterday’s lower-than-expected U.S. core CPI (consumer price index) and geopolitical concerns,” said Jeffrey Young, U.S. rates strategist at Nomura in New York.
Tension increased in Ukraine as pro-Russian rebels shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets.
In the Middle East, meanwhile, Israeli forces continued to pound Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, however, said on a visit to Israel that ceasefire talks had made some progress.
In late morning trading, benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were up 4/32 in price to yield 2.451 percent, while the 30-year Treasury bond was up 5/32 in price, pushing the yield down to 3.244 percent. On Monday U.S. 30-year Treasury bond yields fell to their lowest since June 2013.
U.S. Treasuries rose on Tuesday in the wake of a tame U.S. CPI reading.
“The latest numbers will admit a pause in the gathering strength of inflation, and will not deter the ‘doves’ from claiming that inflation is transitory,” said Thierry Albert Wizman, interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie in New York.
But he believes U.S. annualized core inflation is trending higher, with averages of 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, 1.8 percent in the first quarter this year, and 2.6 percent in the second quarter. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by James Dalgleish)