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U.S. government debt prices pared some losses on Thursday after a report showed factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region decelerated in February to its slowest level in a year.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index fell to 5.2, the lowest since February 2014, from January's 6.3. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase to 9.3, according to a Reuters poll.
Earlier, initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 283,000 for the week ended Feb. 14, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers sounded dovish in its latest released minutes, diffusing investor fears of a potential rate hike as early as June.
The U.S. 10-year benchmark Treasury note was down 7/32 in price, with the yield at 2.10 percent. It closed at 2.0668 percent on Wednesday, down from the seven-week high of 2.143 seen late on Tuesday.
Thirty-year bond was 9/32 lower in price, with the yield fluctuating around 2.73 percent, after closing at 2.695 percent Wednesday.
The minutes of the end-January Federal Open Market Committee meeting reflected a more dovish tone. Notably, "many" participants were inclined to prefer to embark on policy normalization at a slightly later date, while only "some" assessed that policy tightening should begin the near term.
"We view "many" as stronger language than "some", and thus we viewed the minutes as suggesting a slight preference for delayed tightening," said chief economist at Daiwa Capital Markets, Michael Moran.
Oil prices took a hit in early trading Thursday, after U.S. crude stocks rose by 14.3 million barrels last week, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed.
If U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, due at 11:00 a.m. ET, confirm the large build, it would be the biggest weekly addition in barrels since such data became available in 1982, according to Reuters.
Brent crude futures for April fell below $59 a barrel, down from Tuesday's two-month high of $63, and U.S. crude dipped below $50.
In Europe on Thursday, the new anti-austerity Greek government formally applied for a six-month extension of its loan and a renegotiation of some its terms. Overnight, facing the prospect of Greece's banks running out of cash, the country has been allowed more provisions via an Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) from the European Central Bank according to a report. This differs from its main bailout program and doesn't include the tough austerity policies which Greece policymakers are trying to change.
Reuters contributed to this report