April 20, 2021

Investors Are Focused on Treasurys. Here’s What the Fed Could Do.

The yield on a 10-year Treasury note, a reference point for the cost of many types of borrowing, has popped since the start of the year. After dropping as low as about 0.5 percent in 2020, the yield jumped to 1.6 percent during the day last Thursday. It hovered around 1.5 percent by Wednesday.

That is still very low by historical standards: The 10-year yield was above 3 percent as recently as 2018, and in the 1980s it was double digits. But a rapid adjustment in longer-term rates around the world has drawn attention. Global officials like Christine Lagarde, head of the European Central Bank, have voiced concern about the increases.

U.S. officials have generally painted the adjustment as a sign that investors are growing more optimistic about growth as millions of Americans begin receiving Covid-19 vaccines and the government supports the economy with spending. And while markets appear to be penciling in slightly higher inflation, Fed officials had been hoping to push price expectations — which had been slipping — a little bit higher.

“If you look at why they’re moving up, it’s to do with expectations of a return to more normal levels, more mandate-consistent levels of inflation, higher growth, an opening economy,” Mr. Powell said of rates during a hearing on Feb. 23.

But last week’s gyrations prompted U.S. officials to make clear they’re watching to make sure that market moves don’t counteract the Fed’s policies, which make borrowing inexpensive to encourage spending and help the economy recover more quickly.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/04/business/economy/fed-treasury-bonds-jerome-powell.html

Speak Your Mind