Bonds Slightly Higher in Asia; Payrolls Data Eyed


U.S. Treasuries were slightly higher in Asia on Friday, with benchmark yields remaining not far from a three-week low hit in the previous session, as investors awaited key U.S. monthly employment data expected to show slowing jobs growth.

The U.S. Labor Department will release its November nonfarm payroll figures at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expect U.S. employers likely added 93,000 jobs last month, nearly halving October's gain due in part to the impact of storm Sandy. The jobless rate likely held at 7.9 percent.

A disappointing number would mean the U.S. Federal Reserve is more likely to announce further bond purchases at its next meeting on Dec. 11-12, to stimulate the economy.

The Fed is expected to act as its "Operation Twist" program expires this month. Under this program, it has been buying $45 billion of longer-dated bonds each month while selling shorter-dated debt to bring down longterm rates.

"Ahead of payrolls, it is not the time to sell," said a fixed-income fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm.

"The market is also still waiting for some good news or bad news from the U.S. 'fiscal cliff' talks," he added.

The so-called fiscal cliff of $600 billion worth of tax increases and reduced outlays is scheduled to automatically take effect next year unless U.S. lawmakers can avert it. On Thursday, the White House and Republicans in Congress hinted they had resumed low-level private talks on breaking the stalemate.

(Read more: Who's to Blame If 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks Fail?)

Yields on 10-year Treasuries were slightly lower at 1.585 percent on Friday in Asian trade from 1.586 percent in late U.S. trade on Thursday, when yields fell as low as 1.564 percent.

Yields on 30-year Treasuries inched down to 2.768 percent from 2.769 percent on Thursday.