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US Treasury prices slip ahead of French election

Bond traders at CME Group
Getty Images

U.S. government debt prices were lower on Thursday as investors digested several pieces of data and kept an eye on the French election.

Uncertainty around the election has grown over the past month after far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon's surprising surge in the polls.

According to French pollster Ifop, Melenchon was just five percentage points behind the front-runner, centrist Emmanuel Macron as of Wednesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also signaled that "major tax reform" is coming "very soon" from the Trump administration.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was higher at around 2.239 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also higher at 2.89percent. Yields move inversely to prices.

The 10-year yield briefly fell as low as 2.165 percent on Tuesday, the lowest since Nov. 10, and has tumbled from 2.63 percent on March 14.

Bonds prices have been boosted in recent weeks by reduced expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates two more times this year following disappointing economic data releases.

osted in recent weeks by reduced expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates two more times this year following disappointing economic data releases.

On the data front, initial jobless claims rose to 244,000, topping expectations, while the Philadelphia Fed business index fell to 22 in April from 32.8 in March. Leading indicators rose more than expected in March.

In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $52.92 a barrel on Thursday, up 0.02 percent, while U.S. crude was around $50.26 a barrel, down 0.34 percent.

Crude prices posted their biggest one-day drop since March on Wednesday after data from the Energy Information Administration showed a build in gasoline inventories and a smaller-than-expected crude drawdown.

Symbol
Yield
 
Change
%Change
US 3-MO
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US 1-YR
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US 2-YR
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US 5-YR
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US 10-YR
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US 30-YR
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—CNBC's Fred Imbert and Reuters contributed to this report.