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SYDNEY, Feb 8 AAP

February 08 2013, 08:58AM

Australian bonds futures are stronger ahead of the release of the central bank's quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will release its statement at 1130 AEDT on Friday.

Westpac senior market strategist Damien McColough said there was a growing expectation in markets that the RBA was leaning towards cutting the cash rate, currently at 3.0 per cent, further this year.

The RBA cut the cash rate by 1.75 percentage points between November 2011 and December 2012.

Mr McColough said a statement by RBA Governor Glenn Stevens, accompanying the central bank's decision on Tuesday to keep the cash rate on hold for February, had added to expectations of further rate cuts.

"The market has interpreted Tuesday's statement as saying they still have a relatively obvious easing bias, but we need to get some sort of sense around the speed at which they think they need to deliver on that easing bias," he said.

"I think one of the reasons why you will be able to sustain the current (bond price) levels heading into the 1130 release is the fear that the RBA could be more dovish than the market expects."

At 0830 AEDT on Thursday, the March 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.565 (implying a yield of 3.435 per cent), up from 96.555 (3.445 per cent) on Thursday afternoon.

The March three-year bond futures contract was at 97.220 (2.780 per cent), up from 97.190 (2.810 per cent).