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imageNEW YORK: US Treasuries rallied for a fifth straight session on Friday, in line with gains in European sovereign markets, as investors continued to snap up US government bonds with the expectation that the Federal Reserve will implement fewer rate increases this year.

Benchmark 10-year note yields, which trade inversely to prices, were on track for their largest weekly drop since late January. US two-year notes, on the other hand, were on pace to post their steepest weekly fall since October 2014.

The Fed's interest rate forecast, or the so-called "dot plots, showed just two rate increases in 2016. In contrast,

at the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank projections showed at least four rate increases for 2016.

"This is still a follow-through from Wednesday's announcement from the Fed, but we are now in the re-evaluation stage after the Fed decision last Wednesday," said Jim Vogel, interest rate strategist, at FTN Financial in Memphis.

"The market is now figuring out its long-term strategy, where would you want to be on the curve.

We're also getting support from another downturn (in yields) in the EU high-grade bond market." Yields further edged lower after data showed that the University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for March came in at 90, lower than the expected reading of 92.2.

The rate futures market on Friday showed a 42 percent chance that the Fed will raise rates in June for the first time this year, slipping from 43 percent on Thursday, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.

The likelihood of a second increase by December was seen at 72 percent.

In late morning trading, the benchmark 10-year note was up 6/32 in price to yield 1.880, down from 1.902 on Thursday.

On Wednesday, 10-year yields had touched 2 percent going into the Fed announcement.

The 30-year bond was last up 9/32 in price to yield 2.679 percent, from 2.689 percent late on Wednesday. US two-year notes were up 1/32 in price, with yields dipping to 0.839 percent from 0.875 percent the previous session.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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