The U.S. central bank bought $1.25 billion in bonds due 2040 to 2043 on Thursday as part of its ongoing purchases. It will purchase between $500 million and $750 million in debt due from 2024 to 2031 on Friday.
Treasurys had weakened earlier in choppy trading after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gave no hint of imminent monetary policy easing, tracking German government bonds.
The ECB left interest rates unchanged on Thursday, as was expected by economists, but put markets on alert for a possible move in March, acknowledging that emerging-market turbulence could hit the euro zone.
Bill issuance surges
Treasury bill yields also jumped on Thursday after the Treasury said it will sell $84 billion in new three-month and six-month bills next week, much more than many had expected.
The government has been reducing its short-term debt issuance heading into the debt ceiling reinstatement on Saturday, as it has faced restrictions on selling debt that is not needed for immediate expenses. It has been expected to increase supply after the deadline as it faces higher seasonal needs for cash, including to pay tax refunds.
But demand for some short-term debt may drop if lawmakers delay raising the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the administration could use accounting measures to stay under the new cap until the end of February.
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"With the debt limit being reinstated on February 8, the Treasury most likely wanted to avoid having to raise too much cash later in the month," said Kenneth Silliman, head of short-term rates trading at TD Securities in New York.
"The Treasury most likely front-loaded a significant portion of their issuance needs to stay in front of a volatile situation which could ensue from a potential default should lawmakers once again drag negotiations out top the eleventh hour.
Money Market investors are not willing to follow Washington to the brink," Silliman said. Next week's sales include $42 billion in 13-week bills and $42 billion in 26-week bills, both on Monday. The U.S. will also sell $50 billion in cash management bills on Monday. Yields on three-month bills rose as high as 8 basis points, the highest since December 31. Six-month bill yields also increased to 8 basis points, the highest since January 9.