U.S. yield curve flattest in a decade before Fed minutes

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Published: November 22, 2017 2:33:56 AM

The U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened to its lowest in a decade on Tuesday as investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, with no major economic releases due this week and trading subdued before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday

(Source: Reuters)

The U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened to its lowest in a decade on Tuesday as investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, with no major economic releases due this week and trading subdued before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The yield curve has flattened as investors price in the expectation that the Fed will continue to raise rates while the U.S. Treasury is also seen increasing debt issuance in short- and intermediate-dated maturities, but delay large increases at the back end. At the same time low inflation and global demand for yield has supported longer-dated debt. “What you are generally seeing is that any time the curve steepens people think it’s an opportunity to get into flatteners again,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale in New York. “It’s been one consistent trade that’s worked through 2017.”

Investors are seen as reluctant to take the other side of the trade this week as volumes decline and with no major catalysts to change direction ahead of the holiday on Thursday. Benchmark 10-year notes rose 2/32 in price to yield 2.36 percent, down from 2.37 percent on Monday. The yield curve between two-year and 10-year notes flattened to a low of 57.4 basis points, the flattest level since late 2007. The Fed’s meeting minutes due to be released on Wednesday will be evaluated for any new indications that a rate hike is likely in December. The U.S. central bank kept interest rates unchanged when it concluded its two-day meeting on Nov. 1 and pointed to solid U.S. economic growth and a strengthening labor market while playing down the impact of recent hurricanes. Interest rate futures traders are pricing in a 92 percent chance of a December rate hike, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool. Data on Wednesday will also include durable goods orders for October and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey.

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