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.
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,
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,
Even 10-year yields for Japan and Switzerland are barely positive.
Yields on government bonds for all maturities over 3 months have never been lower in the history of the world .
Some 80% of 10-year Japanese government bonds are held by the Bank of Japan. And apparently there are days when no one trades those 10-year bonds because there is no point of trading it. Why? Well, because the Bank of Japan has a policy to control yield curves and since they hold majority of it there are hardly any price movements.
What a difference a week makes, just last week everyone was talking about soaring bond yields. Investors are now seeking safety with developed economies bond yields falling significantly during the week.
Here are some 10-year bond yields, figures in brackets indicate change during the week.
We recently wrote about the impact of rising interest rates for UK households, read more about it here. We also wrote about the impact of higher bond yields for the US government, read more about it here.
Impact of higher interest rates for the UK Government
The UK government has around £1.72 trillion in debt and pays around £36 billion in interest payments a year (an effective interest rate of 2%).
The UK tax revenues are around £800 billion a year, which would mean 4.5% of all tax revenues are paid as interest. The UK has paid £540 billion in interest since it last ran a surplus in 2001.
The US 10-year bond yield soared to 3.09% today (up 75 bps over the past year and 25 bps over the past month), the highest since 2011. The 2-year yield hit 2.59%, the highest since August 2008 (read more here on the financial impact of rising yields for the US Government).
The bigger story is of emerging markets though. Brazilian and Indian 10-year yields have soared 33 bps in just a week. The Brazilian 10-year bond yield topped 10.12% while the Indian 10-year bond yield topped 7.91%. The US dollar has gained 7% against the Brazilian Real and 4% against the Indian Rupee over the past month.
1. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) spent the most as a company on lobbying. Facebook’s spend on lobbying increased 5500% since 2009. They spent most lobbying on changes to … data privacy (Click here to read).
2. This is what has happened to the unemployment rate in the US four to eight months before every recession since the 1940s and why it matters now (Click here to read).