If you haven’t noticed the move higher in bond yields, you might want to pay attention and see what has happened on the long-end of the Treasury yield curve. This has been driven largely by fears that the Federal Reserve would vote for a faster than expected interest rate hike — maybe even in September. That being said, we have a whole history of the bond market not letting yields get too high of late.
Now that the Fed has raised rates once, last December, and jawboning about more rate hikes ahead, some investors are starting to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the near-zero rates in the U.S.
Now take a look at Tuesday’s 30-year Treasury bond auction. That auction faced weak demand, sending prices lower and yields higher. As a reminder, yields and prices are inversely related in bonds.
The 10-year Treasury note yield hit 1.75% on Thursday, a high not seen in 90 days or more. That is just days after the 10-year yield in Germany finally went back above 0.00%.
The 30-year Treasury auction went off at an auction yield of 2.475%. Prior to the sale being final, the on-the-run Treasury yield for the 30-year long bond was right at 2.459%. That is up 23 basis points from a month ago, but it is still down almost 50 basis points from a year ago.
Indirect bidding was the lowest reading in 8 months at 57.9%. That measure tracks foreign demand, including central bank buying. Another spot of weakness was the direct bids of just 4.6%, the lowest since 2009.
After weak 30-year demand, the 10-year Treasury yield was last seen at 1.72%. That yield is up 21 basis points from a month ago, but it is also still 46 points lower than this time a year ago.
Maybe the Fed will actually decide to raise interest rates. Maybe it won’t. Right now we have Fed presidents back in a self-imposed quiet period where Fed presidents do not speak ahead of a FOMC meeting (next week). Several Fed presidents have been trying to signal that the FOMC meeting next week would be a live meeting, implying that they are actually in favor of considering an interest rate hike. Now we have all the non-Fed talking heads driving yields up – Jeff Gundlach, Goldman Sachs, Bill Gross, Paul Singer and many more in recent days.
More pundits are making comments about Treasuries being overvalued at the CNBC Delivering Alpha conference as well. Stay tuned.