TREASURIES-U.S. 10-year notes rally as 'fiscal cliff' hopes fade
TOKYO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - U.S. 10-year Treasuries rose in Asia on Friday, with yields moving away from an 8-week high hit this week, after Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner conceded that his tax bill designed to help avert "the fiscal cliff" lacked the votes to pass. Boehner said it was now up to President Barack Obama to work with fellow Democrats in the Senate to hammer out a deficit-reduction deal that could prevent automatic spending cuts and tax hikes from kicking in next month. Boehner had pushed a "Plan B" that would have raised taxes on families with net incomes over $1 million annually while extending other tax breaks. The White House had threatened to veto it. The U.S. House of Representatives will adjourn until after Christmas. "Treasuries rose after the 'Plan B' option didn't pass," said Ayako Sera, market economist at Sumitomo Trust and Banking. "The market mood has turned pessimistic, and there's a flight to quality into fixed-income assets, ahead of the long holiday weekend." Yields on 10-year Treasuries sank to 1.770 percent on Friday in Asian trade, from 1.803 percent in late U.S. trade on Thursday. Earlier this week, the 10-year yield rose to an eight-week high of 1.847 percent on rising optimism that a U.S. budget deal was close. On the supply side, Thursday's $14 billion auction of five-year Treasury inflation protected securities (TIPS) met strong demand, fetching a record negative yield of 1.496 percent. The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday bought $1.73 billion of Treasuries maturing February 2023 through February 2031, followed by a $7.42 billion sale of its short-dated debt holdings, as part of its "Operation Twist" stimulus programme that will wind down next week. On the U.S. data front, separate reports on Thursday showed sales of existing homes jumped and manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region improved.