(Bloomberg) — Long-term Treasury yields are spiraling lower this week alongside a broad slide in bond-market inflation expectations.
The 30-year breakeven rate, a fixed-income proxy for the annual rate of inflation that’s expected over the next three decades, is about 2.18%, its lowest since March after being as high as 2.41% in May, with investors far less inclined to hold reflation wagers across asset classes. Indeed, breakevens in all maturities are down from last week.
Investors across asset classes had been fixated on inflation until recently. Now those concerns are waning from stocks to commodities and, most pronouncedly, the world’s biggest debt market. The yield on 30-year Treasuries is below 1.90% for the first time since February. And it’s holding there even after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last gathering, released Wednesday, showed officials discussed tapering asset purchases.
“The minutes themselves described an FOMC facing an economy improving faster than previously assumed, thus justifying an early taper than previously forecast, albeit with a highly uncertain near-term inflation outlook,” ” Michael Pond, global head of inflation-market strategy at Barclays, wrote in a note with his colleagues.
Ten-year yields are hovering below 1.3%, nearly half a percentage point beneath a March peak of 1.77% and down from 1.42% at the end of last week. That decline combined with a move lower in the 10-year breakeven rate caused real yields to decrease to about minus 0.96% from minus 0.93% at the end of last week.
Real yields, which are viewed as a purer read of growth expectations because they strip out the effects of inflation, have been flashing warning signs on future U.S. activity levels for months.
Market-based inflation gauges had been ripping higher since September based on investors’ concerns about the Fed’s new policy of allowing inflation to run hot for a while. But those fears were put in check last month when the central bank sped up its plan for raising interest rates to 2023.
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