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Treasury Prices Lose Ground After Trade Gap Narrows

MARKETSCOPE : Treasury prices lost ground Wednesday, after news of a narrower February trade deficit prompted upward revisions to first quarter Gross Domestic Product estimates.

The benchmark 10-year note sank 12/32 to 96-11/32 for a yield of 4.97%, while the 30-year bond tumbled 25/32 to 91-19/32 for a yield of 5.05%. The 10-year yield rose to its highest since June 2002.

A report said the U.S. Trade deficit slipped to $65.7 billion in February from $68.6 billion in January, which was revised from $68.5 billion. Most had expected a $68 billion deficit. Exports fell 1.2% following gains of better than 2% in January and December. Imports dropped 2.3% after surging 3.6% in January and rising 1.7% in December.

The data boosts the first quarter Gross Domestic Product forecast to 5.3% from the 5.0% previously estimated. Action Economics expects exports will post a solid 15% to 20% growth rate in the first quarter, while imports should grow 12% to 16%.

Price weakness also likely reflected position squaring by those who started the Easter holiday weekend early. Bond trading will close at noon tomorrow and resume on Monday.

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