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Treasurys rally after 30-year auction, weak US data

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Treasury debt prices rose on Thursday after two days of losses as softer-than expected U.S. economic data rekindled the view that the Federal Reserve could pause in reducing its asset purchases.

Earlier, the Treasury Department auctioned $16 billion in 30-year bonds at a high yield of 3.690 percent.

The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.27.

Yields on U.S. 10-year notes and 30-year bonds fell to session lows after U.S. jobless claims and retail sales data came in weaker than market expectations.

U.S. retail sales fell unexpectedly in January by 0.4 percent, and another gauge of consumer spending also slipped. U.S. initial jobless claim, meanwhile, rose to a seasonally adjusted 339,000.

"Essentially, it's a story of renewed concern that the recovery in the U.S. may be headed for a speed bump which may be more than weather-related," said Millan Mulraine, deputy head of research and strategy at TD Securities in New York.

"If that's the case, it may mean that the Fed at some point ... may be forced to reconsider the pace of tapering."

Yields have rallied the last two days after the House of Representatives passed a measure on the debt ceiling and new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen vowed to keep the Fed's tapering program despite weakness in recent economic data.

Overall, many market participants still believe the improvement in the U.S. economic outlook is sufficient to keep the Fed on track to scale back its stimulus. Analysts said once this cold spell is over, consumer demand would come back and the economy would be back on track.

Benchmark 10-year Treasurys were up 14/32 in price to yield 2.74 percent. Ten-year yields earlier hit a session low of 2.73 percent after the release of weak U.S. economic data.

Thirty-year bonds, meanwhile, rose 17/32 in price to yield 3.69 percent. On Wednesday, 30-year yields touched three-week peaks of 3.73 percent.

Later in the session the Treasury will sell the last tranche of its quarterly refunding: $16 billion in U.S. 30-year bonds, which have seen mixed reception the last few auctions.

—By Reuters

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