* U.S. CPI rises less than expected
* Rates futures price in lower chance of Dec rate hike
* Russia’s Lavrov: Russia, China plan to defuse N. Korea crisis (Adds comment, updates prices)
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury yields slipped on Friday as softer-than-expected inflation data for July further eroded expectations of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve at its December monetary policy meeting.
Both benchmark U.S. 10-year note and 30-year bond yields, which move inversely to prices, dropped to six-week lows after the U.S. inflation data, while yields on two-year notes, considered the most sensitive to rate hike expectations, sank to an eight-week low.
Friday’s data showed the U.S. consumer price index edged up just 0.1 percent last month after being unchanged in June. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the CPI rising 0.2 percent in July. Excluding volatile food and energy components, consumer prices gained 0.1 percent for a fourth straight month.
The data “points to ongoing slow-mo growth that doesn’t do a thing to threaten more intense Fed action or provide solace to the bond bears out there,” said David Ader, chief macro strategist, at Informa Financial Intelligence.
After the CPI data, rate futures priced in just a 36 percent chance of a rate increase in December, down from 54 percent a month earlier, according to the CME’s FedWatch.
Long-dated yields, however, edged higher from their lows after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there is a Russian-Chinese plan to defuse the potential conflict between the United States and North Korea.
North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump had traded barbs after the Asian nation threatened a nuclear missile attack on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam earlier this week.
“The last thing the markets want here is the tension between U.S. and North Korea,” said Stan Shipley, a strategist at Evercore ISI in New York. “It’s a situation with no good resolution even though most people are skeptical that Russia and China have a plan to defuse the situation.”
In late trading, U.S. 10-year yields dropped to six-week lows of 2.182 percent after the data, compared with 2.211 percent late Thursday. Ten-year yields were last at 2.188 percent.
U.S. 30-year bond yields also fell to a six-week trough of 2.769 percent.
U.S. two-year yields sank to an eight-week low of 1.314 percent, down from Thursday’s 1.335 percent. Two-year yields last traded at 1.294 percent.
On Friday, the curve steepened to its widest in more than a week, with the spread of U.S. 5-year note and 30-year bond yields rising to 105 basis points.
The curve steepening suggested that the market has “slightly lowered the probability of a December rate hike,” said TD Securities in a note. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Additional reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)