NEW YORK: US Treasury prices followed Japanese bonds lower on Wednesday, easing from a rally sparked by concerns of a Chinese economic slowdown, and Treasury's upcoming auction also added to bearish sentiment.
Safe-haven US government debt yields rose from one-week lows reached on Tuesday as investors locked in gains from the previous session's rally, which followed Japanese government yields falling to record lows.
Tuesday's rally was spurred by data that showed exports in China fell 25.4 percent, the most in over six years and twice as much as markets had feared, sending investors rushing for safer assets.
"The global tone for duration and safety is still very strong and we saw that in Japanese bonds, but we're off the low yields we saw yesterday, reflecting the risk-on tone in markets," said Tom Simons, money market strategist at Jefferies & Co in New York.
"We can see the risk-on with equities reversing yesterday's losses." Rising oil prices, which drove gains on Wall Street, further reduced appetite for US government debt on Wednesday.
The Treasury Department's upcoming auctions weighed on bond prices since traders typically sell debt ahead of auctions to make room for new supply. The Treasury will sell $20 billion of 10-year notes at 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) and $12 billion of 30-year bonds on Thursday.
"We are optimistic about this afternoon's 10-year auction and expect non-dealer interest to be significant," said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist at CRT Capital in Stamford, Connecticut.
"This morning's selloff has priced-in a modest concession off the recent low yield marks."
Caution ahead of the ECB's key policy meeting on Thursday added to low demand for safe-haven debt. The central bank is expected to cut the deposit rate by 10 basis points, announce more asset purchases and possibly introduce tiered interest rates to boost inflation.
But after the ECB disappointed many in December, traders are wary of making major bets prior to the meeting.
"There is a risk the ECB will disappoint again tomorrow and that will follow through in markets," said Simons. The benchmark 10-year note was last down 7/32 in price to yield 1.856 percent, up from 1.834 percent late on Tuesday.
The 30-year bond was last down 11/32 in price to yield 2.655 percent, up from 2.639 percent late on Tuesday.