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NEW YORK: US Treasury yields edged higher on Monday as investors awaited data on Wednesday that will show inflation pressures in January and as investors focused on trade talks between the United States and China.

Yields have fallen as Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, adopt a much more dovish tone on further rate increases, and on concerns about slowing international growth.

Consumer price data will be the next indication of whether prices are rising, a necessary prerequisite to support further rate hikes.

"For the most part, we are kind of in a holding pattern until we get the CPI data later this week," said Tom Simons, a money market economist at Jefferies in New York.

"The burden of proof on inflation data now is to try to convince the market that things are going to turn around," Simons said. However, "not only do you need to see more positive inflation data but you also need to see it over a number of months also, one individual print isn't going to do it."

Benchmark 10-year notes

fell 8/32 in price to yield 2.661 percent, up from 2.632 percent late on Friday. The yields have fallen from 2.799 percent on Jan. 18 and are down from a seven-year high of 3.261 percent in November.

China struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed, but also expressed anger at a US Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties.

The US is expected to keep pressing China on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies' intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports.

A trade deal between the two countries could be positive as it would bolster expectations of future inflation.

Other potential market catalysts include talks to avert another US government shutdown.

"The talks are stalled right now," Republican Senator Richard Shelby told "Fox News Sunday." He said the impasse was over Democrats' desire to cap the number of beds in detention facilities for people who enter the country illegally.

Meanwhile Britain's economy slowed sharply in late 2018, pushing full-year growth to its weakest in six years as Brexit worries hammered investment by companies and the global economic slowdown weighed on trade, official data showed on Monday.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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