Bond Report: Long-dated Treasury yields hit the highest level in three weeks after U.S. retail sales data
Long-dated Treasury yields hit their highest levels in three weeks on Tuesday after data showed a surge in U.S. retail sales for October and one policy maker said the Federal Reserve might need to move in a more hawkish direction to account for the recent rise in inflation.
What are yields doing?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
rose 1.1 basis points to 1.632%, up from 1.621% at 3 p.m. Eastern on Monday. It’s the highest level since Oct. 25 based on 3 p.m. yields, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The 2-year Treasury yield
dropped 0.2 basis points to 0.520% versus 0.522% on Monday afternoon.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond
was up 1 basis point at 2.017% compared with 2.007% late Monday. It’s the highest level since Oct. 26.
Both the 10- and 30-year rates posted their largest four-day gains since Sept. 28.
What’s driving the market?
Data released on Tuesday showed October sales at U.S. retailers, such as WalMart Inc.
and Amazon.com Inc.
rose at the fastest pace in seven months, impacted by high inflation. Retail sales surged 1.7% last month, the biggest gain since March when the government doled out billions in stimulus money to families. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 1.5% increase.
Meanwhile, U.S. industrial output was up 1.6% in October after a 1.3% decline the previous month’s decline, and industrial capacity in use rose to 76.4% in October versus 75.2% in prior month.
The data came as St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, said the best policy path for the Federal Reserve would be to “tack in a more hawkish direction” to manage the risks of higher inflation.
In an interview on Bloomberg, Bullard said the Fed could “speed up the taper” to $30 billion per month so that asset purchases would be finished at the end of the first quarter. That would be roughly three months sooner than many currently anticipate.
Meanwhile, his colleague, Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin told Yahoo Finance late Monday afternoon that he’s content to wait a few more months before deciding if the central bank has to become more aggressive.
Fed officials decided to slow down, or “taper,” the pace of their asset purchases earlier this month, the prerequisite first step before any interest rate hike.
Barkin is a current member of the Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee but won’t be next year, while Bullard, an alternate member this year, becomes a full-fledged FOMC member in 2022.
Since late October, longer-dated yields had seen more of a sideways move, which analysts say reflected worries that an eventual effort by the Fed to rein in inflation could spark an economic downturn.
Meanwhile, a sharp rise in yields at the short end of the curve since September has reflected growing expectations the Fed will be forced to move more aggressively than it has signaled to squelch inflation that is running hotter and proving more persistent than expected.
On Friday, the 2-year rate reached its highest since March 2020 and posted its biggest weekly advance in more than two years, a few days after the October reading of the U.S. consumer price index showed a 6.2% year-over-year rise that was the largest in nearly 31 years.
In geopolitics, President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping’s met virtually for more than three hours late Monday, with the leaders agreeing on the need to tread carefully as the superpowers compete.
What are analysts saying?
“The strong retail sales read and higher-than-expected import prices print left Treasury yields to spend the bulk of the session moving higher alongside domestic equities that once again moved to challenge their record highs,” BMO Capital Markets strategists Ben Jeffery and Ian Lyngen wrote in a note.