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US Treasurys hold lower after Yellen comments, Beige Book release

U.S. sovereign bonds traded lower on Wednesday, with investors focused on this month's central bank meetings.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yielded 2.1797 percent, higher than Tuesday's close of 2.157 percent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

The 30-year bond yielded 2.9050 percent, up from the close of 2.919 percent.

Yields held higher after comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who said the U.S. economy has made progress but noted that data could still sway the central bank's rate decision this month. Separately on Wednesday, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said he preferred to hike rates sooner rather than later.

They also remained higher after the release of the Fed's Beige Book, which said economic activity has improved modestly in most regions.

Treasury yields

Symbol
Yield
 
Change
US 3-MO
---
US 2-YR
---
US 5-YR
---
US 10-YR
---
US 30-YR
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The European Central Bank will meet on Thursday, when it is widely expected to announce an expansion of its quantitative easing program, while the Federal Open Market Committee will met in mid-December. The Fed is seen raising interest rates, in what could be an historic divergence in policy by two major central banks.

On the data front, private companies added 217,000 jobs last month, above the expected 190,000, according to ADP.

This comes after Tuesday's very weak manufacturing ISM figure and ahead of Friday's official labor market report.

U.S. productivity for the third quarter also came in 2.2 percent higher, in line with expectations.

"With the jobs data on Friday and with the market close to fully priced for a rate increase, we do not see Yellen providing anything new for the markets today, or tomorrow for that matter. She will likely stick to the script by stating that incoming data is showing progress toward achieving their mandated goals," Derek Halpenny, European head of global market research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, said in a note on Wednesday.

German bunds traded roughly flat on Wednesday, in line with U.S. Treasurys. The dollar pushed higher against a basket of other currencies, above the 100-mark.

Bund yields

Symbol
Yield
 
Change
Bund 10-Yr
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GER 20-YR
---
GER 30-YR
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On Tuesday, Puerto Rico scrambled to free up $355 million to stave off a default. In addition, its governor announced an unprecedented plan that would take money from one group of bondholders to pay another.

After Thursday, attention will shift towards the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which will meet at the end of the week in Vienna.

— By CNBC's Katy Barnato. Follow her on Twitter @KatyBarnato.