Treasury yields slip after UK begins Brexit process; investors digest economic data


U.S. government debt prices were higher on Wednesday as investors digested fresh economic data while digesting the formal start to Brexit.

Britain's ambassador to the European Union (EU), Tim Barrow, has handed the official letter triggering Article 50 to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council.

This commences the country's two-year exit process from the trading bloc. Tusk's receipt of the letter was confirmed in a tweet sent by him at 13:29 p.m. Brussels time.

The Treasury Department auctioned $28 billion in 7-year notes at a high yield of 2.215 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.56.

Indirect bidders, which include major central banks, were awarded 71.1 percent. Direct bidders, which includes domestic money managers, bought 8.4 percent.

The yield on the 7-year bond was 2.215 percent after the sale.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes, which moves inversely to price, fell to around 2.393 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also lower at 2.998 percent.


Yields in the UK were also under pressure with the 10-year Gilt yielding 1.159 percent. Yields across the region also fell after Reuters reported, citing sources, that the European Central Bank is wary of making a fresh policy-message shift next month, adding they are concerned about a possible yield surge.

"What the ECB wants to do is prepare the market for the fact that tapering may not happen that soon as it is expecting," said Naeem Aslam, chief market strategist at Think Markets. "They are right to do so because we do not know what the aftermath of Brexit will be."

On the data front, pending home sales for February rose 5.5 percent.

In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $52.25 a barrel on Wednesday, up 1.79 percent, while U.S. crude was around $49.36 a barrel, up 2.05 percent.

Oil prices extended gains from the previous session as investors expectations lifted that OPEC-led production cuts could continue into the second half of 2017.

—CNBC's Gemma Acton and Luqman Adeniyi contributed to this report.