HomeContributorsFundamental AnalysisUS 10-yr Yield Set a New Recovery High North of 2.6%

US 10-yr Yield Set a New Recovery High North of 2.6%


We’ve stressed on multiple occasions that any correction higher in the core bond sell-off remain fairly limited both in terms of magnitude and in terms of length. Yesterday’s trading session confirmed this once more and highlights the strength on the underlying market dynamic this year. Don’t get blindsided, it’s all about inflation and changing reaction functions of central banks. Core bonds returned to full sell-off mode following a brief move higher around quarter-end with new sanctions against Russia following war crimes adding some doubt. Yesterday’s decline started during European trading hours, but accelerated during US dealings. US Treasuries underperformed German Bunds in the process.

A strong US services ISM (58.3 from 56.5) kickstarted the process. Details showed a strong rebound in employment (54 from 48.5) and big boost in new regular and export orders (both >60). Business activity stabilized at a good 55.5 with inventories crashing from 55.3 to 40.2. Price pressure remains elevated.

Shortly after the release, Washington-based heavy-weight Fed governor Brainard sharpened the knives ahead of tonight’s FOMC Minutes which will reveal details on the pace of the Fed’s balance sheet roll-off. Brainard said that a rapid reduction will start in May. General expectations are a monthly wind-down of $100bn or more. This includes both US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. Brainard added that she’s prepared to take stronger action in the tightening cycle if needed, in a nod to 50bps rate hikes from May onwards, as “it is of paramount importance to bring inflation down”. She focused on rising inequality in her argumentation with inflation especially burdening low- and middle-income families whose pay rises can’t match inflation numbers and eating into disposable income.

Kansas City Fed George and SF Fed Daly sounded the alarm bells on inflation as well: “people hate high inflation”, “inflation is as harmful as not having a job”. They both backed the need to step things up in the tightening cycle. Turning to the market reaction then.

US yields added 9.3 bps to 15.7 bps with the belly of the curve underperforming the wings. The US 10-yr yield set a new recovery high north of 2.6%, taking out 76% retracement (2.56%) on the 2018-2020 yield decline. Full retracement brings us to the 2018 top of 3.26%. European bonds followed US Treasuries south with German yields rising by 6.1 bps (2-yr) to 10.8 bps (10-yr).

EUR/USD suffered from yield dynamics, giving away 1.0961/45 intermediate support to close near 1.09. A test of the previous cycle low at 1.0806 becomes inevitable. The trade-weighted benchmark yesterday broke that reference (previous top at 99.42) and is looking to move beyond the psychological 100-mark for the first time since May 2020. USD/JPY is attacking 124 this morning. The strong sell-off on bond markets spilled to stress on equity markets with main US indices losing 0.8% (Dow) to 2.25% (Nasdaq).

News Headlines

The European Commission triggered its rule of law mechanism for the first time against Hungary yesterday. EC president Von der Leyen said they will send the letter of formal notification before the European Parliament. The decision may ultimately lead to the withholding of some of the €24bn Hungary is to receive up to 2027. Von der Leyen also ruled out a quick disbursement of the €7.2bn funds Budapest applied for under NextGenEU. The EC’s move comes just a few days after PM Orban’s landslide victory to secure a fourth term. It is the culmination of a decade-long spat over the erosion of democratic standards and corruption. The bloc demanded reforms but said it was “not able to find a common ground”. The Hungarian forint lost over 2% against the euro to EUR/HUF 376.62. China’s private Caixin services PMI in March tumbled to the lowest level since February 2020. At 42.0, down from 50.2, the figure printed much lower than consensus (49.7) too. Last month’s steep drop followed China’s worst Covid outbreak since the start of the pandemic. It triggered new harsh lockdowns. New business inflows registering the weakest level since March 2020. The indicator for planned future activity hit a 19-month low. Earlier this week, the manufacturing gauge also fell into contraction territory, from 50.4 to 48.1, bringing the combined composite PMI at 43.9.

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This non-exhaustive information is based on short-term forecasts for expected developments on the financial markets. KBC Bank cannot guarantee that these forecasts will materialize and cannot be held liable in any way for direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this document or its content. The document is not intended as personalized investment advice and does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold investments described herein. Although information has been obtained from and is based upon sources KBC believes to be reliable, KBC does not guarantee the accuracy of this information, which may be incomplete or condensed. All opinions and estimates constitute a KBC judgment as of the data of the report and are subject to change without notice.

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