TREASURIES-Prices slip, Fed meeting this month in focus
* Treasuries rangebound as data meets expectations
* Tapering in focus for Fed January meeting
* Fed to buy $2.25 bln - $3 bln notes due 2021-2023
NEW YORK, Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries prices slipped on Friday as housing and industrial production data came in largely as expected and as trading volumes were light before a long holiday weekend. The bonds have held in a relatively tight range this week, after a weaker than expected employment report last Friday led benchmark 10-year yields to fall from the near the 3 percent level to a range between 2.82 percent and 2.92 percent. Market participants are now focused on whether that report is likely to lead the Federal Reserve to hold its monthly bond purchase program at current levels when it meets later this month, or continue to reduce the size of purchases. "There is still some feeling that they may pause if the economic data looks somewhat weaker, that sentiment surfaced after the employment report but since then we've seen better economic numbers and the beige book released this week was quite upbeat," said Jim Kochan, chief fixed income strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. The U.S. economy continued to grow at a moderate pace from late November through the end of 2013, with some regions of the country expecting a pick-up in growth, the Fed said on Wednesday in its Beige Book report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts nationwide. The Fed will buy $2.25 billion to $3 billion in notes due 2021 to 2023 on Friday as part of its ongoing purchase program. The U.S. central bank cut the size of its monthly bond purchase program by $10 billion to $75 billion at its December meeting. Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 2/32 in price to yield 2.854 percent, up from 2.845 percent late on Thursday. Bonds showed little reaction to data on Friday that U.S. housing starts fell less than expected in December, and industrial output rose by 0.3 percent in December, as expected.
U.S. consumer sentiment also slipped in its first January measure, weighed by lowered expectations among lower- and middle-income families, a survey showed. Fed Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker will speak later on Friday.