U.S. Treasuries retreated ahead of a three-day weekend, lifting the 2-yr yield to its highest level in more than three months while yields on longer tenors finished in the lower half of this week’s range. Treasuries began the week on the defensive with participants eyeing a flood of new supply in coming weeks and months as the Treasury works to replenish its General Account with an estimated $1 trillion of Treasury issuance as part of the latest debt-ceiling resolution. We also had tamer CPI and PPI data and The Federal Reserve left rates unchanged in a target range of 5.00-5.25% but raised the dot plot, with the median moving all the way to 5.6%,
This week’s action compressed the 2s10s spread by seven basis points to 94 bps amid rising expectations that a policy pivot from the Fed will come later than previously thought. Crude oil gained $1.62, or 2.3%, this week, while the U.S. Dollar Index rose 0.2% to 102.27 today, trimming this week’s loss to 1.2%. Bond and equity markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Juneteenth.
There is a firm belief the Central Banks are blindly raising rates because ‘they have to’ and the consequences will be dire, furthermore that the US Administration is bumbling along with damaging decisions one after the other.
Understandably, aware of past Fed behavior markets are conditioned for loose conditions. They expect Fed loosening measures to reverse any meaningful tightening, hence constant flipping between end of inflation and hawkish Fed speaks trades.
Treasuries ended the week lower ahead of a three-day weekend, the 2-yr yield sawits highest level in more than three months while yields on longer tenors finished in the lower half of this week’s range. This week’s action compressed the 2s10s spread by seven basis points to 94 bps amid rising expectations that a policy pivot from the Fed will come later than previously thought.
The preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey for June (actual 63.9; consensus 60.2), which showed that one-year inflation expectations decreased by 90 basis points to 3.3%. The five-year outlook also decreased, but only by ten basis points, to 3.0%.
Crude oil gained $1.62, or 2.3%, this week, while the U.S. Dollar Index rose 0.2% to 102.27 today, trimming this week’s loss to 1.2%. Bond and equity markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Juneteenth.
- 2-yr: +7 bps to 4.71% (+9 bps for the week)
- 3-yr: +8 bps to 4.32% (+6 bps for the week)
- 5-yr: +7 bps to 3.99% (+7 bps for the week)
- 10-yr: +4 bps to 3.77% (+2 bps for the week)
- 30-yr: +1 bp to 3.86% (-3 bps for the week)
Key Rates and Spreads
- 10-year Treasury bonds 3.77%, up +0.02% w/w (1-yr range: 2.60-4.25) (12 year high)
- Credit spread 1.97%, down -0.08 w/w (1-yr range: 1.76-2.42)
- BAA corporate bond index 5.74%, down -0.06 w/w (1-yr range: 5.00-6.59) (10 year+ high)
- 30-Year conventional mortgage rate 6.94%, up +0.04% w/w (1-yr range: 5.05-7.38) (new 20 year high)
- 10-year minus 2-year: -0.95%, down -0.09% w/w (1-yr range: -0.95 – 1.59) (new 40 year low)
- 10-year minus 3-month: -1.46%, up +0.07% w/w (1-yr range: -1.69 – 2.04) (new low)
- 2-year minus Fed funds: -0.35%, up +0.13% w/w
Annual inflation cooled for the tenth straight month on a year-over-year basis, total CPI was up 4.0%, its lowest level since April 2021, below last months, and expected 4.01% per cent. However, core-CPI only dipped slightly to 5.3% year on year, barely moving since the end of last year.
U.S. producer inflation continued to moderate in May on a year-over-year basis, total PPI was up 1.1% year-over-year, versus 2.3% in April. Rising the least since December 2020. Excluding food and energy, PPI was up 2.8% year-over-year, versus 3.2% in April.
Money Market Flows
Money fund assets have expanded an unprecedented $526 billion, or 51% annualized, over 12 weeks to a record $5.420 TN with one-year growth of $894 billion, or 19.7%. Such spectacular monetary inflation deserves serious contemplation.
- Investment-grade bond funds posted inflows of $4.003 billion, and junk bond funds reported positive flows of $615 million (from Lipper).
- Total money market fund assets slipped $0.5bn to $5.452 TN, with a 14-week gain of $558bn (42% annualized). Total money funds were up $911bn, or 20.1%, y-o-y.
- Total Commercial Paper jumped $19.4bn $1.130 TN. CP was up $4bn, or 0.4%, over the past year.
Bond auctions this week:
- $18 bln 30-yr bond reopening. The sale met strong demand, as the high yield (3.908%) stopped through the when-issued yield by 1.1 bps. The bid-to-cover ratio (2.52x) and indirect takedown (72.9%) were above average
- $32 bln 10-yr note sale which drew a high yield of 3.791%, which tailed the when-issued yield by 1.5 bps while the bid-to-cover ratio (2.36x) and indirect takedown (62.3%) were below average.
- $40 billion 3-year note sale. U.S. Treasuries picked up off their lows after the completion. The sale drew a high yield of 4.202 with yields much higher than last month’s 3.695%.
10 Year Note Technical Analysis via KnovaWave
Two Year Treasury Volatility was Historic in the First Quarter of 2023
- Two-year Treasury yields began 2023 at 4.43% then fell to 4.10% by February 2nd.
- Yields then surged almost 100 bps to trade to 5.07% on March 8th. Volatility was on steroids.
- Yields were down to 3.71% intraday on the 15th, only to rally back to 4.25% on the 17th.
- They sank to a low of 3.63% on the 20th, back up to 4.25% on the 22nd,
- Then down to 3.55% on the 24th
- Ended the quarter at 4.03%.
- The yield on the 2-year Treasury fell to 4.06%, down 3.7 basis points on Friday and posting the biggest monthly drop since January 2008, in March the yield fell 73.5 basis points. Its first quarterly retreat in eight quarters.
- The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 3.491%, off 5.9 basis points, and recording its sharpest monthly fall since March 2020.
- The yield on the 30-year Treasury declined to 3.688%, down 5.7 basis points, while setting its biggest monthly decline since January.
US corporate bond spreads over US Treasuries and how they have widened as cyclical risk have risen but are well shy of the wide spreads recorded during the early part of the pandemic, let alone the GFC. To label this as a severe credit crunch would be extreme.
Highlights – Federal Reserve
- Federal Reserve Credit declined $26.7bn last week to $8.353 TN.
- Fed Credit was down $548bn from the June 22nd peak.
- Over the past 195 weeks, Fed Credit expanded $4.627 TN, or 124%.
- Fed Credit inflated $5.542 TN, or 197%, over the past 552 weeks.
- Fed holdings for foreign owners of Treasury, Agency Debt declined $2.5bn last week to $3.407 TN.
- “Custody holdings” were up $12.6bn, or 0.4%, y-o-y.
Two-year Treasury yields rose 12 bps this week to 4.71%, the high since the SVB blowup. The market sees a 72% probability of a 25 bps hike at the Fed’s July 26th meeting, with peak Fed funds now at 5.30% for the September 20th meeting. The market is pricing only one rate cut by the January 31, 2024, meeting.
Highlights – Mortgage Market
- Freddie Mac 30-year fixed mortgage rates dropped 15 bps to 6.78% (up 155bps y-o-y).
- Fifteen-year rates also fell 15 bps to 6.16% (up 178bps).
- Five-year hybrid ARM rates dipped three bps to 6.38% (up 226bps) – near the high since October 2008.
- Bankrate’s survey of jumbo mortgage borrowing costs had 30-year fixed rates up 10 bps to 7.05% (up 148bps).
Global Bond Watch
“Government bond prices around the world are moving in tandem, reducing investors’ ability to diversify their portfolios and raising concerns of being blindsided by market gyrations. Correlations between currency-adjusted returns on the government debt of countries such as the U.S., Japan, the U.K. and Germany are at their highest level in at least seven years, data from MSCI showed, as central banks around the world ramp up their fight against inflation.”October 10 – Reuters (Davide Barbuscia)
Major Benchmark 10-year Bond markets
Bond Market Performance 2023
Highlights – European Bonds
- Greek 10-year yields declined four bps to 3.64% (down 92bps y-t-d).
- Italian yields gained four bps to 4.11% (down 58bps).
- Spain’s 10-year yields rose five bps to 3.36% (down 15bps).
- German bund yields gained six bps to 2.38% (down 7bps).
- French yields increased six bps to 2.92% (down 6bps).
- The French to German 10-year bond spread was little changed at 54 bps.
- U.K. 10-year gilt yields jumped eight bps to 4.24% (up 57bps).
Gilts Sold Reminds Us of Risk.
- UK two-year yields spiked 40 bps this week to 4.93% (2-wk gain 58bps) – surpassing late-September crisis levels to the highest yield since the summer of 2008.
- Two-year yields were up 20 bps in Sweden, 21 bps in Germany, 20 bps in France, and 16 bps in Italy.
- Australian two-year yields jumped 20 bps this week to 4.20% – to the high since the summer of 2011.
The prior week we saw the yield on UK two-year debt rose 0.6 percentage points week to over 4.5 per cent, its highest level since October. The equivalent German bond yield rose from 2.5 per cent early this month to just under 3 per cent.
The UK’s 10-year bond yields are the highest in the G7, as markets continue to worry about the extent of interest rate hikes that will be needed to bring inflation back under control. There was some nervousness in bond markets globally Thursday when British bond prices tumbled again on Thursday with concerns high inflation will force the Bank of England to carry on raising interest rates, with two-year gilts on track for one of the biggest weekly falls in 20 years.
Gilt yields were up on the day around 11 to 17 basis points (bps) over the range of maturities, adding to a similar jump on Wednesday as markets reeled from stronger-than-expected inflation data. Markets have repriced one more rate rise by the European Central Bank to 3.7 per cent from 3.5 per cent by October.
Highlights – Asian Bonds
- Japanese 10-year “JGB” yields added a basis point to 0.43% (up 1bp y-t-d).
“The unprecedented monetary easing by the Bank of Japan over the past decade has reshaped the nation’s lenders, from their asset holdings to loan income. That may be about to change as the central bank prepares to take on a new chief next month… The most notable case is Japan Post Bank Co., a unit of a former state-run mail services giant, which manages most of almost $2 trillion of assets in its securities portfolio. Where it once invested as much as 80% of its money in JGBs, this now accounts for less than 20%. Instead, the bank has rapidly built up its holdings of foreign bonds and other securities to 78 trillion yen ($572bn), accounting for about 35% of its entire portfolio.”March 5 – Bloomberg (Taiga Uranaka)
Key US Bond Auction Highlights
- Strong Demand at US 30-year Treasury Bond Auction Following May CPI
- 10-year Bond Auction Struggles as Treasury Issues $195 Billion of Debt Today
- Solid Domestic Pick Up at 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction with High Yield 4.202%
- U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction Sees Solid Demand Amongst Debt Ceiling Muddle
- Solid Demand at US 30-year Treasury Bond Auction Following April CPI and PPI Data
- Weak Demand in 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Auction Following CPI Report
- Steady 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction with High yield 3.810% Right on When Issued Pricing
- Weak U.S. 7-year Treasury Bond Auction with 1.3 bps Tail Completes Week’s Offerings
- Strong Demand in 5-Year Treasury Auction which Stopped Through When-Issued 0.6 bps
- International Buyers Pick up 2-year Treasury Bond Auction Slack
- U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction Saw Lower International Demand After UK and EU Inflation
- Solid Demand at US 30-year Treasury Bond Auction Following CPI and PPI Data
- Weak Demand in 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Auction Following CPI Report
- Steady 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction with High yield 3.810% Right on When Issued Pricing
- Weak International Demand in U.S. 7-year Treasury Bond Auction Completes Week’s Offerings
- 5-Year Treasury Auction Attracts Strong International Demand
- Soft 2-year Treasury Bond Auction with 2.7bps Tail
- Tepid Demand at U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction Ahead of Crucial FOMC
- Underperformance in US 30-year Treasury Bond Auction with SVB Financial Rout Impacting
- Weak 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Auction with Rate Hike Expectations Higher
- Solid Demand at 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction as 2s10s Tightened to Record -104bps
- Weak Demand in U.S. 7-year Treasury Bond Auction Completes Week’s Offerings
- 5-Year Treasury Auction Attracted Above Average International Demand
- Tepid Demand at U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction Follows Last Week’s Series
- Weak Demand in US Long Bond Auction Caused Yields Spike to Highs of the Day
- Heavy International Demand in 10-year U.S. Treasury Note Auction Boosts Bonds
- Weak International Demand at Soft 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction Ahead of Powell Speech
- Strong U.S. 7-year Treasury Bond Auction with International Buyers Highest Since May
- Strong Demand at U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction Follows Last Week’s Series
- Record Foreign Demand at US Treasury Bond Reopening Completes Strong Auction Week
- Solid International Demand in 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Auction Ahead of CPI
- Strong International Demand at 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction
- Quiet U.S. 7-year Treasury Bond Auction as US Dollar Trades at Six Month Lows
- 5-Year Treasury Auction Attracted International Demand as Bonds Sold off
- Strong Demand at U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction as Markets Wind Down for Christmas
- Meek Demand Seen in Long Bond Auction Despite Tamer CPI Report
- Weak 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Auction Ahead of CPI and FOMC
- Weak Demand for U.S. 7-year Treasury Bond Auction in Illiquid Holiday Market
- 5-Year Treasury Bond Auction Softer than Strong Demand in 2-Year Sale
- Solid U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction with Indirect Bidders Taking Down 75%
- US 30-year Treasury Bond Auction Meets Strong Demand After Cooler Than Expected CPI Report
- Dismal 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Auction Following Mid Term Elections
- Safe Haven Buying at 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction with US Mid Term Elections and Cryptocurrency Collapse
- Weak Demand for U.S. 7-year Treasury Bond Auction as Growth Markets Shake
- Solid 5-year Treasury Bond Auction After Big Tech Stock Earnings Misses
- Dismal U.S. 20-year Treasury Bond Auction as US 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Hits 20 Year High 7.22%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Auction Lackluster Demand Ahead of Tomorrow’s CPI
- Foreign Buyers Stayed Away from 3-Year Treasury Bond Auction
Inflation with Henry Kaufman
Kaufman is the legendary chief economist and head of bond market research at Salomon Brothers is someone who knows Inflation. Henry Kaufman in an interview with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker Jan 14, 2022:
“I don’t think this Federal Reserve and this leadership has the stamina to act decisively. They’ll act incrementally. In order to turn the market around to a more non-inflationary attitude, you have to shock the market. You can’t raise interest rates bit-by-bit.”
“The longer the Fed takes to tackle a high rate of inflation, the more inflationary psychology is embedded in the private sector — and the more it will have to shock the system.”
“‘It’s dangerous to use the word transitory,’ Kaufman said. ‘The minute you say transitory, it means you’re willing to tolerate some inflation.’ That, he said, undermines the Fed’s role of maintaining economic and financial stability to achieve ‘reasonable non-inflationary growth.’”
The rubber is meeting the road as the trifecta of rising interest rates, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and surging costs continues to weigh, this has been no surprise to us here and shouldn’t have been to the market and PTB. You can only play with fire for so long before you get scorched!
With all the redirection of blame at the Fed about inflation one has to understand it is a global phenomenon outside the Fed’s Control. With the war drums louder than ever the supply chain issues are out of control. The Federal Reserve is not in control of global energy and commodities prices.
Everything points to powerful inflationary dynamics and a Federal Reserve so far “behind the curve.”
Instability is pronounced, credit defaults are on track to rise in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, according to a survey by the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers. The economic slump is likely to occur later this year or in 2023, according to the survey.
Global Bonds 2022 Performance
10 Year Bonds – Americas 2022 Performance
10 Year Bonds – Europe 2022 Performance
10 Year Bonds – Asia 2022 Performance
10 Year Bonds – Africa 2022 Performance
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