The US-China tariff squabble is definitely roiling markets, but the global economic slowdown (read Europe) is helping push interest rates into The Twilight Zone.
(Bloomberg) — Government debt markets surged worldwide on Tuesday on the growing prospect of central-bank stimulus amid concern about dimming global growth. The move lost some steam on signs of apparent thawing in U.S.-China tensions.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields slid as much as 8 basis points to 2.01%, the lowest level since 2017, as comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi dragged down rates across Europe. French, Swedish, German and Austrian 10-year yields fell to unprecedented lows. The move in Treasuries was briefly reversed, in part, following news that the U.S. and Chinese presidents will meet at the upcoming Group-of-20 summit in Japan, assuaging some market concerns about the fractious relationship between the world’s two largest economies.
Federal Reserve officials, who are due to deliver a policy decision on Wednesday, are confronted by a market that is pricing in a quarter point interest-rate cut by July and around 62 basis points of easing by the end of this year. Comments from Draghi that additional stimulus may be needed if the economic outlook doesn’t improve added fuel to bets on ECB rate cuts, and in turn helped spur speculation that the U.S. central bank will act too. The 10-year yield was around 2.05%, down 4 basis points on the day, as of 11:48 a.m. in New York, while U.S. equities also climbed.
“Draghi’s comments were one more indication that one of the major central banks will likely begin another round” of monetary support, said Mark Grant, chief global strategist of fixed income at B. Riley FBR Inc. “This gives the Fed one more reason to consider cutting rates because the American rates are so much higher than those in Europe or Japan. U.S. 10-year yields are headed lower.”
The ECB is grappling with an economic slowdown and an inflation rate that remains entrenched below its goal. In the U.S., the Fed is faced with inflation running persistently below the Fed’s 2% target, falling inflation expectations and signs that the labor market is beginning to slow.
And the global stockpile of negative yield bonds is near $12.2 TRILLION.
Europe is really seeing plunging sovereign yields with Sweden now in negative yield territory at the 10-year maturity.
But negative interest rates don’t seem to be helping European economies.