Treasury yields turned mixed on Thursday, a day after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting outlined plans to begin scaling back the central bank’s nearly $9 trillion balance sheet.
Long-end yields advanced while their shorter-dated counterparts fell — steepening the spread between 2- and 10-year yields to as much as 18 basis points.
What are yields doing?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
rose to 2.649%, compared with 2.606% at 3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Wednesday’s level was its highest since March 19, 2019, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The 2-year Treasury note yield
was 2.453% versus 2.5% Wednesday afternoon.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond
stood at 2.699%, compared with late Wednesday’s level of 2.631%, its highest since July 16, 2019.
What’s driving the market?
Long-dated yields continued to climb Thursday morning after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting provided investors with an outline of the central bank’s plans for shrinking its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet.
The summary showed that Fed officials want to reduce the balance sheet by $95 billion a month after a three-month phase-in. The process could potentially begin in May, but policy makers have yet to make a final decision, the minutes said.
They also showed some support for half-point rate hikes at upcoming meetings if inflation remains high or gets even worse. Sales of its mortgage-backed securities holdings also remained on the table, the minutes showed.
Data released on Thursday showed that initial jobless claims matched a 54-year low of 166,000 for the week that ended April 2 — the second lowest reading in history— during a period of remarkably strong hiring and the lowest layoffs on record.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who has been in the vanguard of Fed officials pushing for a more aggressive policy response, dismissed talk of recession on Thursday, saying that the U.S. expansion “is not ‘old’ and can continue for a long time.”
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic were scheduled to speak in the afternoon. February consumer credit figures were set for release at 3 p.m. Eastern.
What are analysts saying?
“The Fed’s hasty normalization plans have a feeling of ‘behind the curve’ around them,” wrote analysts at KBC Bank, in Brussels. “Only one month ago, the Fed was still buying bonds on a net basis. In the previous [quantitative-tightening]-cycle, it took them one year to hit the maximum speed of $50bn/month.”