Yields rise on heavy supply at auction and trade hopes

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury yields rose on Wednesday, a day that saw a flood of supply and on optimism for progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations that begin in Washington on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the market absorbed a $24 billion reopening of 10-year notes and on Thursday a $16 billion reopening of 30-year bonds was scheduled.

The benchmark 10-year yield rose 4.5 basis points on Wednesday to 1.584%, after the auction was met with slightly soft demand. The measure of overall auction demand was 2.43, close to recent averages. Fund managers, foreign central banks and other indirect bidders bought 58.5% of the offering, the smallest takedown for a reopening since January.

“The market has been beaten up quite a bit today, and the auction came right at the lows of the day. The small short stop suggests that the market generated a sufficient concession,” said Tom Simons, senior money market economist at Jefferies.

The 30-year bond yield was up 4 basis points ahead of Thursday’s auction. Record amounts of 10- and 30-year debt have been sold by President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department as his administration has increased government spending while revenue has shrunk due to tax cuts.

Yields may have also been pressured higher on increased hopes for a trade resolution after Bloomberg reported China was still open to agreeing to a partial trade deal with the United States, citing an official with direct knowledge of the talks.

Separately, the Financial Times citing unnamed sources reported that Chinese officials were offering to increase annual purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

Still, some analysts were skeptical of the effects of the trade developments on the Treasury market.

“It’s really difficult to see any signs of progress or change. It’s difficult because you don’t want to ignore headlines, but at the same time each headline seems to say the same thing – that both sides want to see something happen and both sides are encouraged that something may happen,” said Michael Lorizio, senior fixed income trader at Manulife Investment Management.

Also on Wednesday, a readout of the minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed that policymakers supported the need for an interest rate cut in September, but remained increasingly divided on the path ahead for monetary policy.

On Tuesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell flagged openness to more rate cuts to mitigate against such risks, repeating that the central bank will act “as appropriate.”

Reporting by Kate Duguid; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and David Gregorio

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