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TREASURIES-Long-term yields jump on Fed official's comments

Ellen Freilich
Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 | 1:51 PM ET

* Fed's Bullard says tapering still on table for December

* FOMC minutes from last meeting due at 2:00 p.m. EST

* Existing home sales fell 3.2 percent in October

* Consumer prices fell in October, core CPI up 0.1 percent

* October retail sales slightly stronger than expected

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices fell Wednesday, lifting long-term yields, after a senior Fed official said a solid U.S. jobs report for November would increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve would start to scale back bond buying at its meeting next month.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told Bloomberg TV a so-called tapering of stimulus was "definitely on the table" but it would depend on economic data, which he said had looked better recently.

"A strong jobs report, I think, would increase the probability some for a December taper," he said.

Bullard is a voting member of the Fed's policy-setting committee this year.

At its October policy meeting, the central bank voted to keep buying bonds at an $85 billion monthly pace, delaying a decision to start scaling back the program until it saw more evidence of a durable recovery that could sustain job creation.

Minutes from that meeting will be released at 2:00 p.m. EST(1900 GMT).

Economists surveyed by Reuters believe the Fed will begin reducing its monthly bond purchases in March 2014 - with a small chance of doing so in January - but with an accompanying commitment to keep interest rates at record lows, a poll showed Wednesday.

Earlier, bonds erased some early losses on a substantial 3.2 percent drop in sales of existing homes in October.

"The drop in home sales shows the housing recovery can't withstand interest rates having risen to even this level," said Thomas di Galoma, co-head of fixed income rates at ED&F Man Capital in New York.

A tame consumer price index for that same month was also supportive for bonds in that it argued that the Fed had plenty of time to pursue an accommodative Fed policy.

Better-than-expected retail sales in October appeared to make a counter argument to the weak home sales data, showing that households spent freely in October. The retail sales data prompted Goldman Sachs to boost its fourth-quarter gross domestic product tracking estimate by one-tenth to 1.6 percent.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 11/32, its yield rising to 2.75 percent.

The 30-year bond fell nearly a point in price, its yield rising to 3.86 percent.