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U.S. Treasurys are off to their worst start to a year in over four decades, but a familiar set of supporters may soon ride to their rescue.

Momentum is building for Japanese investors — the biggest foreign holder of U.S. bonds — to ramp up purchases, with recent auctions showing strong overseas demand and fund managers signaling there’s no real alternative. They are seen waiting for a volatile March to pass before positioning for the start of the new fiscal year in April — having been notable bond sellers on accelerating bets of Federal Reserve rate hikes.

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