Jump to content

Inverted Yield Curves -APAC brief 5 Dec

Sign in to follow this  
MaxIG

Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

Inverted Yield Curves: There’ll probably be a lot of talk about “inverted yield curves” and “recessions” today. For some, reading such headlines will come as a shock. Perhaps even a cause of anxiety. It’s wise to understand why such commentary has emerged – and what that may imply. The price action in US Treasuries has been quite dramatic in the past 24-hours: the (what ought to be) familiar themes regarding a looming global economic slow-down, and the prospect of softer future US inflation has seen traders cut their predictions of future rates hikes from the US Fed. The short-end of the yield curve – the end which is more exposed to the near-term actions of the Fed – has held up well; but it’s the middle-to-end of the curve – the part controlled very much by traders’ expectations about future growth and inflation – that is experiencing the greatest duress.

1.jpg

What it all means: In short: traders are anticipating an imminent end to the Fed’s hiking cycle, and they are now trying to approximate when the Fed may cut rates again.  This is where the talk of recession starts to pop-up. As is easy enough to grasp, the Fed would need to cut rates in the event that the economy requires stimulatory support from monetary policy. Such circumstances would emerge if the economy began to slip into something resembling a recession. Hence, when yields at some point in the curve invert, it’s a reflection of traders collectively estimating that in the near-enough future, interest rates will be lower than what they are (around about) now, because the economy will enter into a period of significant weakness to require a rate cut from the Fed.

No reason to panic (yet): It sounds quite ominous when the mechanics are explained. It’s doubly as bad when one considers the last time the US went into recession, it was the GFC. We all have memories of how dire that stage of history was. However, any fears elicited by talks of recession and everything that comes with it must be moderated by some counterbalancing arguments. Indeed, an inverted yield curve has portended the last 9 out 11 US recessions, but the time-lag between yield-curve-inversion and a recession should be noted. After an inversion of the US 2 Year Treasury note and the 10 Year Treasury note (the spread on these two assets being the most popular barometer for the phenomenon) it’s not for another 12-18 months that a recession is realized.

2.jpg

US growth is solid (for now): So: while financial markets will be whipped into a frenzy about what is going on – especially as safe-haven assets like US bonds are gobbled-up as risk appetite wanes – the effects on the “real” economy are unlikely to manifest in the all-too immediate future. And justifiably so: global growth is waning, and it is not as synchronized as it was in 2017, but at least in the US, economic indicators remain relatively strong. The labour market, which is in focus this week with Non-Farm Payrolls figures released on Friday, is still very tight, leading to gradual wages growth; quarter-on-quarter GDP is still around 3-and-a-half per cent; and although business conditions are cooling, Monday’s release of US Manufacturing PMI still posted a much better than forecast result.

What triggered the panic: It begs the question what precipitated this bearishness overnight. In financial markets, an underlying dynamic – such as that which has been experienced in the last 24 hours – may well be present, but it requires a catalyst to ignite it into full motion. Last night’s jitters, in a macro-sense, were brought- about by a slew of disappointing news. The post-G20 rally has been faded, as traders question the longevity and substance behind the so-called deal between the US-China, after several top White House advisers failed to substantiate what outcomes have been agreed upon between the two trade-waring nations. The trade related pessimism was exacerbated by renewed concerns regarding Brexit, and the apparent inevitability of an economically disruptive “hard-Brexit” outcome.

Risk-off, havens-on: A rush to safety, and a subsequent liquidating of positions in riskier assets, has occurred. Touching again on US Treasuries: the yield on the benchmark 10 Year note has plunged to 2.91 per cent, and on the 2 Year note it has dipped to 2.80 per cent, taking the spread there to a narrow 11 points. Equities have been slaughtered, unwinding a considerable amount of last week’s gains: the Dow Jones is off 2.73 per cent, the S&P500 is off 2.3 per cent, and the NASDAQ is off 3.3 per cent (with an hour remaining in trade). The USD has climbed on its haven appeal, as has the Japanese Yen, which is back into the 112-handle, though gold has also rallied, despite the stronger greenback, to $US1238 per ounce. While in other commodities, copper is down 1.8 per cent, and oil is flat (this, leading into Thursday’s OPEC meeting).

Australia today: SPI futures are predicting another punishing day for the ASX200, with that contract at time of writing indicating a 52-point fall for the local index. The heavy hitting financials and materials sectors will probably struggle today: the former due to this tumble in bond yields, the latter as traders unwind the growth optimism piqued by the weekend’s G20 meeting. In line with overseas markets, defensive sectors could be the play today, though a day similar to yesterday which saw 10 out of 11 sectors in the red on 17.5 per cent breadth shouldn’t be discounted.

It’s GDP day today, and that should be watched closely, especially after the RBA at its meeting yesterday talked up the growth prospects of the Australian economy. Whatever the result the numbers produce – forecasts are for annualized growth at 3.3 per cent – it will unlikely shift Australian equities. The interest will be on the Australian Dollar and interest rate markets – the A-Dollar fell below 0.7350 again last night as risk-proxies were dumped – however the likelihood rates traders will bring forward their RBA-hike expectations in from 2020 is rather slim.

3.JPG

Sign in to follow this  


1 Comment

Recommended Comments

Excellent post @MaxIG, written by Kyle Rodda.

The inverted yield curve (coming, nearly, here?) for US Treasuries  2s and 10s, or 1s and 10s, or 1s and 5s, has been hot news for months now, and is a never ending story that with hindsight can always be made to fit years down the line. Will the coming recession be here in 1 year or 2, or latter, will it be forestalled by a booming economy? (yes).

On the news front for funds some are saying everything is fine, some that their clients have already moved from 'end of cycle' into 'recession' mode.

If you are not a fund manager you should not be too worried because as a retail trader you can profit from up moves as well as down.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Blog Statistics

    • Total Blogs
      3
    • Total Entries
      396
  • Our picks

    • ASX Rallies on Weak Australian Dollar - EMEA Brief 22 Feb
      The AUD continues to trade lower following the Chinese ban of Australian coal to its Dalian port. The ASX has benefited for the weaker exchange rate as it is trading at its highest level since October.
      • 0 replies
    • Wall street pull back - APAC brief 22 Feb
      Wall Street pulls back: On balance, and with Wall Street a few hours from ending its session, it's been a soft 24 hours for equities. The often heard calls of a looming "new-peak" in the market in the shorter term can be heard from some. Momentum has certainly slowed down. The S&P500 has its eyes one 2815 again - that crucial area where that index sold off on three occasions from October to December last year. It could be a slow drive to arrive at a challenge of that level now. The dovish Fed will keep the wind behind US stocks; but the earnings outlook, post reporting season, has dimmed on Wall Street, while positive regarding the trade war has already been heavily juiced.


      Trade war truce already priced in? Markets are positioned for a relatively positive outcome in the trade-war, and that's manifesting in pockets of market activity. A true resolution in the trade war isn't expected, however an extension to be March 1 trade-truce-deadline seems to be. The overnight fall in US Treasuries, coupled with a topside break of copper's recent range, is a testament to this sentiment. The yield on the US 10 Year note has jumped back towards 2.70 percent, while the 3 month copper contract on the LME leapt another 0.83 per cent overnight. In G4 currencies, the US Dollar is stronger against the Euro and Pound, albeit very, very marginally, but weaker against the Yen.

      The curious case of gold: Gold prices have dipped slightly courtesy of the stronger Dollar and greater confidence in the policy-outlook for the world's major central banks. The price of the yellow metal is sitting just above $1325 presently, as it continues its short term trend higher. One of the more divisive debates amongst traders currently is the outlook for gold. Like any market, time horizons are crucial to illustrating the trend for an asset's price.
      • 0 replies
    • Galaxy Fold: Future or Gimmick Feature? - EMEA Brief 21 Feb
      Samsung announced the Galaxy Fold the first consumer available phone to feature a folding display. The new phone also comes with a $1,980 price tag.  
        • Like
      • 1 reply
  • Latest Forum Topics

×