US Treasury debt prices soared on Friday on fears a US default could trigger a shortage of Treasuries and even push the world's largest economy back into recession.
The buying started with data showing the economy grew at an even slower pace in the first half of the year than economists had estimated.
Bidding surged and 30-year bonds jumped more than two points after Reuters reported that Treasury officials told Wall Street banks the Treasury may have to delay or cancel a major round of bond sales if Congress does not raise the nation's debt ceiling by August 2.
"A lot of factors converged to lead us higher today. You got a gross domestic product number that was horrible, and that spooked a lot of people — once we get beyond this debt ceiling issue we have got an economy that is really struggling," said Marty Mitchell, head of government bond trading at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore.
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The potential that the Treasury might postpone debt sales in the event the debt ceiling is not extended by next Tuesday bolstered Treasuries on concerns fund managers and short-term traders might have to compete for tight supply for their everyday operations.
"There's a lot of demand for these issues, just kind of a natural demand that always comes up," said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics LLC, San Francisco. "So with less or truncated supply you have a lot more demand chasing less supply."
Benchmark ten-year notes traded 1-9/32 higher in price, their yields dipping to 2.79 per cent, marking the lowest in eight months and down from 2.95 per cent late on Thursday.
Benchmark yields were set for the biggest single-day drop in yield since March 18, 2009, when the Federal Reserve announced a round of $300 billion (Dh1.1 trillion) in Treasuries purchases, known as QE1.
"With the whole situation around the debt ceiling you've got a lot of nervousness going into the weekend and any shorts that have been in the market have covered up," Mitchell said.
Efforts to raise the US debt ceiling and avert a government default, have been unsuccessful.