(Adds background) Jan 12 (Reuters) - Speculators' net bearish bets on U.S. 10-year Treasury note futures rose to their highest level in 10 months earlier this week during a bond market sell-off, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.
The amount of speculators' bearish, or short, positions in 10-year Treasury futures exceeded bullish, or long, positions by 196,853 contracts on Jan. 9, according to the CFTC's latest Commitments of Traders data..
This was the most speculative net shorts in 10-year T-note futures since 298,514 contracts in the week of March 7, 2017.
A week earlier, speculators held 75,840 net short positions in 10-year T-note futures.
The bond market has stumbled at the start of 2018 as investors have favored stocks and other growth-oriented assets over low-yielding government debt due to optimism about global economic growth.
Also propelling Treasury yields higher this week were worries about reduced monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan, and a Bloomberg report that China might buy less or stop purchasing Treasuries amid a less attractive market for them and rising U.S.-China trade tensions. Benchmark 10-year yield hit a 10-month high on Wednesday at 2.597 percent, Reuters data showed.
On Thursday, the bond market enjoyed a respite after China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange on its website denied recommending such a move on U.S. bonds as reported by Bloomberg.
The Treasury sell-off resumed on Friday in response to a stronger-than-forecast December reading on core consumer inflation, which raised expectations the Federal Reserve might increase interest rates three times in 2018.
Below is a table of the speculative positions in Treasury futures on the Chicago Board of Trade and in Eurodollar futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the latest week: U.S. 2-year T-notes (Contracts of $200,000) 09 Jan 2018 Prior week week Long 414,419 410,668 Short 682,041 648,593 Net -267,622 -237,925 U.S. 5-year T-notes (Contracts of $100,000) 09 Jan 2018 Prior week week Long 598,720 556,440 Short 1,042,485 995,662 Net -443,765 -439,222 U.S. 10-year T-notes (Contracts of $100,000) 09 Jan 2018 Prior week week Long 561,307 660,245 Short 758,160 736,085 Net -196,853 -75,840 U.S. T-bonds (Contracts of $100,000) 09 Jan 2018 Prior week week Long 184,034 193,768 Short 117,297 110,008 Net 66,737 83,760 U.S. Ultra T-bonds (Contracts of $100,000) 09 Jan 2018 Prior week week Long 64,293 57,863 Short 171,080 164,070 Net -106,787 -106,207 Eurodollar (Contracts of $1,000,000) 09 Jan 2018 Prior week week Long 991,778 896,163 Short 3,533,032 3,523,820 Net -2,541,254 -2,627,657 Fed funds (Contracts of $1,000,000) 09 Jan 2018 Prior week week Long 115,417 129,886 Short 187,992 222,400 Net -72,575 -92,514 (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)