The U.S. 10-year Treasury constant maturity yield minus the 2-year Treasury constant maturity yield spread has been a good indicator of past recessions. Yield curve inversion which happens when the spread turns negative and has preceded the last seven straight recessions. The 10-year Treasury constant maturity yield minus the 2-year Treasury constant maturity yield is the lowest since the last recession at only 10 bps.
The reasons aren’t what you think …
We wrote about three slightly different U.S. recession indicators that have been predictive of the past few recessions and have been tracking how near or far are those from being invoked, here’s where we are in September 2018,
U.S. 2-year, 3-year, 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 20-year and 30-year yields are all converging. Looks like a beautiful chart, just one thing …
We haven’t written about bond yields for some time. Government bond yields have largely been falling despite Central Banks announcing reductions or end to their bond buying programmes.
The only notable countries where yields are still up over the past year are the United States, Canada, Italy and Emerging Markets.
It wouldn’t appear that the market is anticipating interest rate rises in the short term. We will write about that in a few days but in the meanwhile here are 10-year government bond yields as of 14th July 2018 (figure in brackets indicate absolute 1-year change),
Everyone seems to be focussing on the equity markets recently, but equity markets haven’t really moved much over the past one month. Over the past month, major equity markets have lost between 1.5% to 4%.
The real action is in bonds and commodities. And trade seems to be flourishing too.
10-year government bond yields of major economies are lower by 5% to 40% (in relative terms not absolute terms) in just the past month. 10-year German bonds are down 12 bps over the past month. That wouldn’t sound much but they are down 28% from 42 bps to 30 bps. U.K. yields are down 8%, U.S. yields down 5%, Japanese yields down 40%. Even Greek yields are down 20% over just the past month. Does the market anticipate a pause in interest rate rises? It would appear so.
What a difference a year makes. The Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates thrice (in December, March and June) with a target rate range of 1.75% to 2% now. The Eurozone meanwhile maintains its zero-interest rate policy.
We wrote recently about three slightly different U.S. recession indicators that have been predictive of the past few recessions. How near or far are those from being invoked?
30-year and 10-year Treasury yield
The 10-year Treasury yield has been greater than the 30-year Treasury yield three to six months before each of the past four. Currently the difference is just 19 bps.
And the 30-year, 20-year and 10-year Treasury yields have almost converged three to six months before each of the past five recessions as well. The 20-year yield already 3 bps higher than the 30-year yield, they have been converging for the past two weeks.
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Wednesday that it will halve its bond buys to 15 billion Euros (from the current 30 billion Euros) a month from October then shut the programme at the end of the year.
ECB’s balance sheet has increased by 2 trillion Euros since 2015 when it announced its bond buying programme. 2-year yields for most of the Eurozone countries are currently negative and 10-year yields in most cases are lower than that of the United States. The European Central Bank (ECB) is by far the biggest holder of European bonds and the biggest (almost 90%) buyer of the weaker Eurozone (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece) countries debt since 2015. The ECB balance sheet is now over 4.5 trillion Euros, some 45% of Eurozone GDP.