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TREASURIES-Yields lowest in three months as tapering seen delayed

Karen Brettell
Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 | 8:59 AM ET

* Ten-year yields lowest since July, fall to 2.50 pct

* Fed seen reducing bond purchases in March

* Fed to buy $2.75 bln-$3.50 bln in notes due 2020-2023

NEW YORK, Oct 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries yields fell to the lowest in three months on Wednesday, after weaker than expected jobs data on Tuesday reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to reduce the size of its bond purchase program in the near term. Buying overnight helped yields fall further, after a rally on Tuesday and no large data releases scheduled on Wednesday. The government is catching up on delayed economic data after the government's 16-day partial shutdown was lifted a week ago. Market focus is now largely centered on next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting, where the U.S. central bank is expected to keep the size of its $85 billion a month bond purchase program unchanged. "The Fed is kind of handcuffed from doing any tapering, the consensus is pushing it out to March. The weak (jobs) number supports it," said Sean Murphy, a Treasuries trader at Societe Generale in New York. A Reuters polled conducted on Tuesday showed 9 of 15 U.S. primary dealers see the Fed starting to reduce bond purchases in March, with many of them blaming Washington's fiscal impasse for a "significant" impact on the Fed's timing to pare stimulus.

Data over the coming months is likely to be skewed by the effects of the 16-day government shutdown, muddying insight into the actual state of the economy. The release of the October payrolls report has been pushed back to Nov. 8 from Nov. 1. Other key data that have been delayed includes the Consumer Price Index for September, which will now be released on Oct. 30, and the Producer Price Index for September, now due on Oct. 29.

Benchmark 10-year notes were last up 3/32 in price to yield 2.50 percent, the lowest since July 23 and down from 2.60 before the jobs data was released on Tuesday. The yields have fallen from 3.00 percent on Sept. 5, before the Fed surprised investors by keeping the size of its bond purchase program unchanged. The Fed will buy between $2.75 billion and $3.50 billion in notes due 2020 to 2023 on Wednesday as part of its ongoing purchase program.