Long-dated government bond yields on Friday saw their most severe selloff in weeks, extending a recent climb, as investors grappled with President Donald Trump’s comments criticizing domestic monetary policy and that of allies in China and Europe.
What are Treasurys doing?
The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +1.84% climbed 5 basis points to 2.895%, its largest one-day yield rise since May 18, registering a weekly rise of 6.4 basis points, its steepest weekly climb also since May 18. In the past several days, the benchmark had mostly traded in a tight range, drawing concerns that its quiescence bond market may result in a surge in a selloff and a surge in rates.
See: The bond market is ‘coiling’ for a violent yield surge, says BMO strategist
The 30-year bond yield TMUBMUSD30Y, +2.34% climbed 6.5 basis points to 3.031%, its highest since June 22 and largest one-day jump since May 15. The so-called long bond saw weekly yield rise of 9.7 basis points, representing its largest weekly climb since the period ended May 18.
Meanwhile, the 2-year note yield TMUBMUSD02Y, +0.65% was up 0.6 basis point to 2.599%, contributing to a weeklong rise of 1.7 basis points.
Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields.
What’s driving the market?
Investors have keyed into President Donald Trump’s tweets that monetary tightening were making it difficult for the U.S. economy to “recapture” the losses from unfair trade deals and currency manipulation by China and the European Union. Reports also said Trump was worried the central bank would raise rates two more times this year, citing an unnamed White House official.
This comes after Trump’s comments saying he was unhappy the central bank‘s rates hike were frustrating his efforts to boost the economy, in a Thursday interview with CNBC. Investors said though his remarks might hint at his willingness to breach the veil of the Fed’s independence, it was unlikely Trump would influence the central bank to slow the current pace of monetary tightening.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the central bank should suspend its rate hikes try to avoid an outright inversion of the yield curve, the gap between short-dated rates and long-dated rates. He also said senior Fed officials wouldn’t pay heed to Trump’s criticism. Investors have seen a flattening curve as a sure bet with a central bank unwilling to hold back its gradual rate hikes, which have pushed up short-dated yields.
Read: Investors see Fed standing firm as Trump rips rate hikes
Also check out: Pimco says Fed would signal pause to rate hikes to avoid ‘lasting’ yield curve inversion
Trade worries continued to swirl around the economy. This week’s Beige Book showed businesses were wary of increasing capital expenditures in the face of trade uncertainty, offsetting the boost from tax cuts introduced at the beginning of the year. Analysts at Fitch Ratings say the tariffs imposed by the U.S. and its major trading partners will push firms to cut back on investment. During the CNBC interview, the president also said he was ready to raise the tariff spat to the full $505 billion in goods that the U.S. imported from China last year.
What did market participants say?
“The reality is the week has been focused on Fed policy. We had Powell speaking earlier this week and that took center stage. I think today’s moves are all about positioning, we’ve had some re-steepening of the curve,” said Larry Milstein, head of government and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co.
“We’re reversing a little bit of the knee-jerk reaction to some of Trump’s comments. The market is realizing he’s not going to have an impact on the Fed despite the White House wanting them to ease up on some of that tightening. The reversal is higher rates. But the long-term trend is towards flattening, people are just closing out positions and getting ready to put those [flattening] trades back on again” said Milstein.
“We continue to forecast continued Fed tightening, assuming that trade policy doesn’t turn into a major drag on growth.…We see the administration’s trade warmongering as the main source of downside risk for growth, and thus the main risk to our forecast for Fed policy. We don’t believe the President’s criticism of rate hikes will cause Fed officials to hold back on tightening,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, in a note.
What are other assets doing?
The 10-year German government bond yield TMBMKDE-10Y, +37.80% rose 4 basis points to 0.312%, while the French 10-year bond yield TMBMKFR-10Y, +7.69% climbed 5 basis points to 0.617%, according to Tradeweb data.