TREASURIES-Prices little changed ahead of Fed minutes
* Fed minutes due for release at 1400 EDT
* Minutes may give clues on when Fed stimulus will end
* Stimulus seen scaled back from September -Reuters poll
NEW YORK, Aug 21 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury prices were little changed Wednesday, amid caution ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy-making meeting, which is expected to provide clues on when the bank will begin to scale back its stimulus measures. Yields have surged recently to hit two-year highs on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon slow its $85-billion monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. A ream of mixed economic data recently has brought the question of how soon the Fed will scale back stimulus to the forefront for the bond market. Other assets around the world have also been hit, with riskier emerging markets getting especially hurt. "The main entrée of the day is going to be the minutes, whether we get any insight into their thoughts on tapering," said Wilmer Stith, co-manager of the Wilmington Broad Market Bond Fund in Baltimore. "Even if we don't really get anything out of the minutes that sheds new light on the question, at the end of the day people are getting set up for a tapering event in September," he added. The minutes of the Fed's policy-making meeting in July are due to be released at 1400 EDT (1800 GMT). The benchmark 10-year note dipped 1/32 in price to yield 2.822 percent, from 2.818 percent late on Tuesday. The 30-year bond slipped 4/32 in price to yield 3.860 percent, from 3.854 percent late on Tuesday. Half the economists polled by Reuters expect the Fed to begin slowing its asset purchases from September. But analysts say the Fed's decision will depend on data illuminating the health of the world's biggest economy. "Many analysts (we included) look for a $20 billion reduction in security purchases when tapering is first announced in September," wrote Michael Carey of Credit Agricole to clients on Wednesday. "Clearly, the data to be released in the month ahead could have an impact on the taper amount and the FOMC discussions may offer insights into how Fed policymakers view the signals sent Fed speakers have stressed that even as they slow the so-called quantitative easing program of bond buys, they will keep their key interest rate low. But ever since Chairman Ben Bernanke first hinted in May at an earlier-than-expected end to the Fed's stimulus, yields have jumped more than 100 basis points.