Tag Archives: Bond Yields

How A Small Rise In Bond Yields May Create A Financial Crisis, by Daniel Lacalle

With the world up to its eyeballs in debt, any rise in interest rates is both painful and capable of causing a chain reaction of financial failure. From Daniel Lacalle at dlacalle.com:

How can a a small rise in bond yields scare policymakers so much?

Ned Davis Research estimates that a 2% yield in the US 10-year bond could lead the Nasdaq to fall 20%, and with it the entire stock market globally. A 2% yield can cause such disruption? How did we get to such a situation?

Central banks have artificially depressed sovereign bond yields for years. Now, a small rise in yields can cause a massive market slump that evolves into a financial crisis.

Quantitative easing was designed as a tool to provide liquidity to a scared market and benefit from exceptionally attractive valuations of the lowest-risk assets, sovereign bonds. Central banks would cut rates and purchase these high-quality, low-risk assets from banks, thus allowing financial entities to lend more to the businesses and families and strengthen confidence in the economy. Once financial conditions improved, central banks would reduce their balance sheet and normalize policy. This never happened.

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The Fed’s Irresponsible Rate Cut Accelerated Panic, by Daniel Lacalle

Central banks can’t cure what ails the economy and financial markets and they’re just going to make things worse. From Daniel Lacalle at dlacalle.com:

The monumental mistake of the Federal Reserve cutting rates this week can only be understood in the context of the rising God’s complex of central planners. An overwhelming combination of ignorance and arrogance.

Less than a week ago, several members of the Federal Reserve board reminded – rightly so – that cutting rates would not have a significant impact in a supply shock like the current one. We must also remember that the Federal Reserve already cut rates in 2019 and inflated its balance sheet by 14% to almost all-time highs in recent months, completely reversing the virtually nonexistent prior normalization. Only a few days after making calls for prudence, the Fed launched an unnecessary and panic-inducing emergency rate cut and caused the opposite effect to what they desired. Instead of calming markets, the Federal Reserve 50 basis points cut sent a message of panic to market participants. If the jobs and manufacturing figures were better than expected, and the economy is solid with low unemployment, what message does the Fed transmit with an emergency cut? It tells market participants that the situation is much worse than it seems and that the Fed knows more than the rest of us about how dire everything can be.  A communication and policy mistake driven by an incorrect diagnosis: The idea that the market crash would be solved with easy monetary policy instead of understanding the impact on stocks and growth of an evident supply shock from the coronavirus epidemic.

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Very Deflationary Outcome Has Begun: Blame the Fed, by Mish Shedlock

Central bank inspired asset price bubbles eventually pop, and popping bubbles are deflationary. Today the 30-year bond yield dropped intraday to .6987 percent, which certainly suggests deflation. That may be the low for yields, but the economy is going to follow the stock market and that also suggests deflation. And look whats happening to the oil market. Watching the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, people have been expecting inflation since the last financial crisis. Wouldn’t it be just like markets if we got debt deflation and depression instead? It might mean we don’t get that new high in gold many are now predicting. From Mish Shedlock at moneymaven.io:

The Fed blew three economic bubbles in succession. A deflationary bust has started.
Flashback January 6, 2020

Ben Bernanke Just Won’t Stop Making a Fool Out of Himself

Former Chairman Bernanke says Fed Has Many Tools to Deter Recession.

Dear Mr. Bernanke

Please do yourself a favor and stop making a fool out of yourself.

For starters, let me point out it was indeed impossible to unwind the Fed’s balance sheet. How far did you get? And what is the Fed doing now?

Secondly, you would not know inflation if if jumped up and spit you in the eye. You and your group-think buddies never consider asset bubbles as inflation.

Economic Challenge to Keynesians

Of all the widely believed but patently false economic beliefs is the absurd notion that falling consumer prices are bad for the economy and something must be done about them.

My Challenge to Keynesians “Prove Rising Prices Provide an Overall Economic Benefit” has gone unanswered.

BIS Deflation Study

The BIS did a historical study and found routine deflation was not any problem at all.

“Deflation may actually boost output. Lower prices increase real incomes and wealth. And they may also make export goods more competitive,” stated the BIS study.

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“The ECB Is Basically Giving The Finger To Italy”: Is Draghi Risking Everything To Teach Rome A Lesson, from Tyler Durden

One of the more consequential dramas on the world stage in what happens between Italy’s new government and the ECB and EU. It’s like Greece a few years ago, but Italy is much bigger and more important within the EU. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Perhaps the most perplexing market-moving event of the past 48 hours, was the 1-2 punch of a Tuesday Bloomberg report that next Thursday’s ECB meeting is “live” in that policy makers anticipate (at long last) holding a discussion that could conclude with a public announcement on when they intend to cease asset purchases (QE), coupled with a slew of ECB members overnight coming out with unexpectedly hawkish comments.

Of these, the ECB’s otherwise dovish Peter Praet said inflation expectations are increasingly consistent with the ECB’s aim, and added that markets are expecting an end of QE at end of 2018, this is an observation and input that is up for discussion and that “it’s  clear that next week the Governing Council will have to make this assessment, the assessment on whether the progress so far has been sufficient to warrant a gradual unwinding of our net asset purchases.”

Other ECB hawks such Hanson, Weidmann and Knot doubled down on the central bank’s sudden QE-ending jawboning pivot, saying that the ECB could lift rates before mid-2019 due to “moderately” rising inflation, that market expectation of end of QE by end of 2018 is plausible, and that the ECB should wind down QE as soon as possible.

The market response was instant, and it not only pushed both German and Italian yields sharply higher…

… as well those of US Treasurys, but spiked the EUR while sending the USD lower, and unleashing today’s euphoric stock surge.

Now, it is hardly rocket surgery that without ECB support, Italian bonds are toast. After all, as we have shown and predicted since last December, without the only marginal buyer of Italian debt for the past 2 years – the ECB – Italian yields would soar, leading to a prompt default by the nation which would suddenly find itself drowning under untenable interest expense.

To continue reading: “The ECB Is Basically Giving The Finger To Italy”: Is Draghi Risking Everything To Teach Rome A Lesson

Record Short Bets against 10-Year Treasury Promise Turmoil, by Wolf Richter

As SLL recently observed, when everybody is on the same side of the boat in financial markets, it usually capsizes. Right now, everyone is on the short the 10-year treasury side of the boat. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

A very crowded trade goes begging for a contrarian reaction.

The 10-year Treasury yield closed on Monday at 2.86% the highest since January 16, 2014, after briefly kissing 2.89% during the day. At the moment, it is holding at 2.85%. Bond prices fall when yields rise – and being short the 10-year Treasury, and thus betting on a rising yield, has become a very crowded and profitable trade for hedge funds and other speculators.

Short bets in 10-year Treasury futures rose to 939,351 contracts, the most ever, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data through February 6, cited by Bloomberg yesterday.

This record came even after the market turmoil on February 5, when the Dow plunged 4.6% and when, briefly, Treasuries soared, with the 10-year yield dropping 13 basis points, which would have made shorts very nervous. But apparently, they hung on, as their record short positions through February 6 shows, when the 10-year yield rose again and closed at 2.79%.

The next step is 3%. The last time the 10-year yield was 3% was in early January 2014, and then only for a few days at the end of a brief spike. In May 2013, it got close, but no cigar (2.98%). And before then, it was at 3% in July 2011.

That 3% is a key level for another reason. At around 3%, the 10-year becomes very alluring for long-term holders, given today’s dividend yields and other yields, and it will bring out more buyers.

The emergence of these additional buyers may coincide with short-sellers trying to take profits, which may conspire to pump up the price and push down the yield. And this, fired up by speculators trying to get out of a short position, would turn into a sharp snap-back rally for the 10-year Treasury, and a sharp drop in yields. This could take off even before the 10-year yield hits 3%, and it could catch some speculators by surprise.

To continue reading: Record Short Bets against 10-Year Treasury Promise Turmoil

The Ultimate Bear Chart, by the Northman Trader

You don’t have to be an expert in technical analysis to recognize from the chart below that the ratio of the Standard and Poors Index over the ten-year Treasury bond yield has decisively moved below a long-term trend line. Treasury yields are moving up relative to stocks, which last week moved down. The ratio may be forming what’s called a head-and-shoulders formation. If the trend continues it means interest rates will continue moving up and/or stock prices will continue moving down. From the Northman Trader at northmantrader.com:

“There are two bubbles: We have a stock market bubble, and we have a bond market bubble” – Alan Greenspan January 31, 2018

This may not come as a surprise, but: I agree with him. Oh I know, every time Alan Greenspan says something related to “irrational exuberance” immediately the comments come that he said it in 1996 and stocks didn’t blow-up until 2000. While that may have been true then it didn’t invalidate his premise nor is the timing relevant to now. Back then people ignored him and went full bubble mode until it popped.

Indeed this one may still go on for a while and 2018 upside risk targets remain despite this week’s first pullback action of 2018. However this week’s corrective move coincided with a sustained technical breakout in the 10 year yield above its 30 year trend line. Markets clearly reacted and not favorably.

Which brings me precisely to the relationship between stocks and bonds. If Alan Greenspan is correct then a chart I have been watching and musing about for a while may be the ultimate bear chart.

I’ve shown this chart before, but let me walk you through the theory of it.

This is a ratio chart of $TNX (10 year yield) vs the $SPX and yields a stunning picture:

The correlation is stunning to me from a technical perspective. Why? Because it is so incredibly precise.

Indeed, if Alan Greenspan is right, this chart could have enormous implications for the next few years. This chart could suggests a massive multi year bear market to emerge.

Let me explain why and how.

The ratio bottomed right near the 2008/2009 lows and, as you can see, we’ve seen a continued rise until the middle of 2016. In the years in between a trend line established itself that acted as precise support until the US election. That’s when everything went pear shaped.

Since then the trend line became resistance and the renewed effort to break above it rejected precisely at the trend line again in 2017. Given this history it seems hardly a coincidence, but rather suggests a technical relationship of importance.

Currently we see the ratio dropping hard this week. Why? Because stocks are falling and yields are rising. Which means that for this to move back higher yields must drop and stocks rise. Or at least yields need to stop rising.

To continue reading: The Ultimate Bear Chart