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Treasury yields clinch weekly decline after Fed officials hint at rate cut in July

U.S. government debt yields rose on Friday but notched weekly declines as fixed-income traders snapped up bonds in anticipation of a Federal Reserve rate cut later this month.

That belief that reinforced Thursday, when New York Fed President John Williams encouraged preemptive action from central banks when signs economic deceleration start to appear.

At around 4:02 p.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to price, was higher at around 2.05%, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also higher at around 2.578%.

New York Federal Reserve President John Williams said Thursday that the central bank should "act quickly" when the economy loses some steam. "It's better to take preventative measures than to wait for disaster to unfold," he said in a speech.

U.S. Markets Overview: Treasurys chart

His comments sparked further expectations of a rate cut this month when the Federal Reserve meets. However, a New York Fed spokeswoman cautioned against reading too much into the comments.

"This was an academic speech on 20 years of research. It was not about potential policy actions at the upcoming FOMC meeting," a spokesperson for the New York Federal Reserve told CNBC.

Nonetheless, the resulting Treasury purchasing helped turn positive the spread between the 3-month Treasury bill yield and the 10-year Treasury note yield, which had been inverted since mid-May. Many investors consider an inverted yield curve a reliable recession indicator, having preceded every major economic downturn since World War II.

"While the curve barely moved out of inverted territory (less than one basis point) and is in and out of inversion this morning, positive is positive!" wrote Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group.

"The current decade was almost the first decade without an inverted yield curve, but that ended in the last few months," he added. "It is also the only decade not to have a recession. Will that streak last?"

Consumer sentiment inched higher in early July and was largely unchanged from June, according to data released Friday.

The University of Michigan's preliminary print on its consumer sentiment index rose to 98.4, up from 98.2 in June. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected the preliminary read on July consumer sentiment to reach 98.5.

The report comes ahead of a highly anticipated meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee scheduled for July 30-31. Markets expect the U.S. central bank to reduce its overnight lending rate amid signs the global economic is slowing.