In a significant development, the 10-year Treasury yield, a pivotal indicator influencing mortgage rates and gauging investor confidence, soared to its highest level since 2007 on Tuesday. The surge saw the 10-year Treasury yield climb 11 basis points to 4.793%, reaching 4.8% earlier in the day, while the 30-year Treasury yield peaked at 4.924%, also marking its highest point in over a decade.
2-year Treasury yield
Simultaneously, the 2-year Treasury yield, which reacts to expectations surrounding the Federal Reserve’s key borrowing rate, experienced a slight uptick to 5.144%.
Federal Reserve policymakers have recently expressed divergent opinions on the necessity of another rate hike this year. Despite this, there’s a consensus that rates will remain elevated for an extended period to address lingering concerns about inflation.
Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman emphasized on Monday, “Inflation continues to be too high, and I expect it will likely be appropriate for the Committee to raise rates further and hold them at a restrictive level for some time to return inflation to our 2% goal in a timely way.”
Uncertainty within the Market
Market uncertainty looms over the potential timing of a rate increase, with two policy meetings scheduled for the remainder of the year—October 31-November 1 and December 12-13. According to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, there is a 25.7% chance of a rate hike on November 1 and nearly a 45% probability in December.
The spike in yields persists despite the recent passage of a last-minute spending bill, averting a government shutdown. This move bought lawmakers time to finalize necessary government funding legislation, preventing potential negative impacts on the U.S. credit rating and the overall economy.
The recent increase in rates has reignited discussions about “bond vigilantes,” a term coined by economist Ed Yardeni to describe fixed-income investors leaving the market due to concerns over U.S. debt.
Why is the cost rising?
One of the contributing factors to the rising costs of borrowing is persistently high fiscal deficits. The public debt has surpassed $32.3 trillion this year, reaching nearly 120% of total gross domestic product (GDP).
Economist Ed Yardeni remarked, “The worry is that the escalating federal budget deficit will create more supply of bonds than demand can meet, requiring higher yields to clear the market; that worry has been the Bond Vigilantes’ entrance cue.” He added, “Now the Wild Bunch seems to have taken full control of the Treasury market; we’re watching to see if the high-yield market is next. We are still counting on moderating inflation to stop the beatings in the bond market.”
The developments in Treasury yields are being closely monitored as they continue to influence various sectors of the economy, including housing and investment, amid uncertainties about the future trajectory of interest rates.