Treasury yields rise slightly, but trade-war fears keep investor sentiment in check

U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly on Wednesday, but lingering concerns over U.S. trade relations kept investor sentiment in check.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note traded at 2.92 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose to 3.06 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

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Market-watchers have become increasingly jittery after President Donald Trump requested late Monday that the United States Trade Representative identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs, at a rate of 10 percent.

If China "refuses to change its practices" and insists on continuing with the new tariffs it recently declared on the U.S., then the additional levies would be imposed on the Asian nation, Trump said.

The additional tariffs come hot on the heels of levies announced by both nations last week. Like last week, Beijing has again pledged to retaliate against the U.S. Treasury yields fell on Tuesday as investors sought out safety from a decline in stocks.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the case for the U.S. central bank to further tighten monetary policy was "strong."

"Earlier in the expansion, as the economy recovered, the need for highly accommodative monetary policy was clear," Powell said at a 2018 European Central Bank forum in Portugal. "But with unemployment low and expected to decline further, inflation close to our objective, and the risks to the outlook roughly balanced, the case for continued gradual increases in the federal funds rate is strong."

Powell made his remarks just a week after the Fed raised short-term interest rates by a quarter-percentage point.