The yield curve inversion plus why banks and banking stocks are impacted by it

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.

10y minus 2y yield December 5 2018
Data Source: Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

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Those three U.S. recession indicators – how near or far are those from being invoked? September 2018 edition

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,

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Bond yields globally have fallen over the past year other than in the U.S., Canada and Emerging Markets

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),

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Something strange is happening in the global economy right now

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.

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Those three U.S. recession indicators – how near or far are those from being invoked?

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.

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This is what is likely to happen when the European Central Bank ends bond buying

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.

Source: European Central Bank

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.

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Three slightly different US recession indicators

Here are three slightly different US recession indicators that have been predictive of the past few recessions,

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 recessions. Graph below for the past decade, the shaded areas indicate recessions,

US 30 year and 10 year yield 2008 to 2018
Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US)

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. Graph below, the shaded areas indicate recessions,

US 30 20 and 10 Treasury Yield
Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US)

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