March 4, 2013 / 3:11 PM / in 5 years

TREASURIES-Prices edge lower, paring its recent gains

* Investors eyeing ECB on Thursday, jobs data Friday
    * China's move to cool property market stokes growth worries
    * Italy edges closer to another election

    By Luciana Lopez
    NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices
edged lower on Monday as investors weighed recent price gains
against political uncertainty in Italy and worries about growth
in China.
    Choppy trading kept U.S. government debt well within recent
    Treasuries could likely stay rangebound, as well, for much
of the week, as markets await a European Central Bank meeting on
Thursday and key U.S. jobs data on Friday.
    "The market's a bit expensive to really go 'gung-ho' and buy
at this point even though there's a lot of risk," said Kim
Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at
Action Economics LLC in San Francisco.
    Prices for 10-year Treasuries slipped 4/32 to
yield 1.857 percent on Monday from 1.8446 percent late on
    Prices for 30-year bonds fell 5/32 to yield
3.063 percent, despite having risen earlier in the session.
    Some of the global risk worries came from China, with
investors fretting government actions to cool the heated
property market could weigh on growth. 
    Ongoing political turmoil in Italy also dented investor's 
appetite for risk. After last month's inconclusive election, the
country could be inching closer towards another election within
    "It's less about Italy per se than voter and political
reaction to austerity," said Jim Vogel, interest rate strategist
at FTN Financial in Memphis.
    Those reactions to budget austerity have broader
implications for much of Europe. While the euro zone sovereign
debt crisis has quieted recently, problem spots such as Spain
and Italy remain. 
    Nor are the problems confined to the monetary union, as
worries have flared recently about the possibility of another
slide into recession in the United Kingdom. 
    Investors this week will eye the ECB's rate decision on
Thursday. With analysts in a Reuters poll expecting policymakers
to stand pat, a surprise rate cut could jolt markets out of
recent ranges.
    On Friday, investors will wait for key U.S. jobs data.
Analysts in a Reuters poll see non-farm payrolls rising by
    The U.S. Federal Reserve has emphasized the need to see a
lower unemployment rate in weighing monetary policy. 
    Until that rate, currently at 7.9 percent, edges closer to
the bank's goal of 6.5 percent, analysts say the bank is
unlikely to tighten its ultra-loose policy.
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