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TREASURIES-Prices dip in light trade, Fed minutes in focus next week

Karen Brettell
Friday, 3 Jan 2014 | 9:18 AM ET

* Prices slip, Fed minutes next Wednesday in focus

* Volumes light on U.S. storm, Japan closed for holiday

* Bernanke among Fed speaks to speak on Friday

NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices fell on Friday, sending benchmark 10-year yields back over 3 percent, with no major economic releases due and investors cautious heading into a busy week, including the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's December meeting. Volumes were light on Friday also as a winter storm kept many traders on the U.S. east coast away from their desks, and after the Japanese market was closed. The Fed's meeting minutes will be closely watched on Wednesday for signs over how far the Fed may further pare back its bond purchases, after it said last month it would cut the mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion a month. The meeting minutes, new corporate supply and traders adjusting to the Fed's smaller purchase schedule when it begins purchases again next week are likely to keep investors on the sidelines on Friday, said Jim Vogel, an interest rate strategist at FTN Financial in Memphis, Tennessee. "There's no need to rush in right now," he said. Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 4/32 in price to yield 3.007 percent, up from 2.985 percent late on Thursday. They yields have fallen from a two-and-a-half-year high of 3.04 percent on Thursday. The Fed will buy $40 billion in Treasuries in January, down from $45 billion in December. The first purchase will be between $1 billion and $1.50 billion in bonds due 2036 and 2043 on Monday. The Treasury will also sell $64 billion next week in new 3-, 10- and 30-year bonds. A number of Federal Reserve speakers are scheduled to speak later on Friday, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Fed Board Governor Jeremy Stein and Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser.