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BOND REPORT : Treasury Yields Tick Lower Ahead Of December Inflation Data

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01/11/2019 | 09:03am EDT

By Sunny Oh

Consumer prices are expected to fall 0.1% in December

Treasury yields fell Friday ahead of inflation data that could give the latest indication of budding price pressures as the Federal Reserve cites tepid inflation for adopting a more patient path to further rate increases.

The 10-year Treasury note yield fell 1.4 basis points to 2.717%, while the 2-year note yield also was off 1.4 basis points to 2.551%. The 30-year bond yield was down 0.5 basis point to 3.046%. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields.

Investors are gearing up December's reading of the consumer-price index, one of the few data releases unaffected by the government shutdown. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect CPI to fall by 0.1% thanks to the fall in gasoline prices, leaving the core reading which strips out volatile energy and food prices with an expected increase of 0.2%.

"The CPI performance for December is likely to closely mirror the November results. Energy prices probably fell again, likely even more steeply than in November," wrote Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.

Several senior Fed officials have pointed to the expectation for muted inflation increases to argue for a wait-and-see approach to further rate increases. That has helped diminish concerns that the central bank will make a policy mistake that causes a steep economic downturn.

The absence of economic data since the shutdown began has started to trouble investors and the Fed by driving up uncertainty around the economy's momentum. If the shutdown continues beyond Saturday, it will become the longest one in U.S. history. Both President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats have shown little appetite of backing down over the White House's demands for border wall funding.

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