US Markets

U.S. yield inversion deepens, stokes recession fears

Credit: REUTERS/JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ

The U.S. yield curve inversion deepened on Tuesday to levels not seen since 2007, rekindling fears of a looming recession that spurred a sell-off on Wall Street and stoked even more safe-haven demand for government bonds.

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. yield curve inversion deepened on Tuesday to levels not seen since 2007, rekindling fears of a looming recession that spurred a sell-off on Wall Street and stoked even more safe-haven demand for government bonds.

The intense interest in Treasuries supported demand for $40 billion worth of two-year government debt for sale, part of this week's $113 billion fixed-rate Treasury supply.

The yield curve often inverts prior to a U.S. recession.

"As the curve inverts further, it has inspired more long-end buying," said Mike Lorizio, head of Treasuries trading at Manulife Asset Management in Boston.

The Treasury Department sold its latest two-year, fixed-rate note supply at a yield of 1.516%, which was the lowest at an auction of this maturity since September 2017.US2YTWI=TWEB[nZXN0DNT0E].

The Treasury will sell $41 billion of five-year notes on Wednesday, followed by a $32 billion auction of seven-year debt on Thursday. It will also offer $18 billion in floating-rate notes on Wednesday.

On the open market, 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR were 1.488%, down 5.60 basis points on the day. They reached a three-year low of 1.443% on Monday.

The yields on two-year notes US2YT=RR were 1.531%, down 2.00 basis points. On Monday, they declined to 1.449%, the lowest since September 2017.

The three major Wall Street indexes .SPX, .DJI, .IXIC were lower, wiping out their initial increase.

The spread on three-month T-bill rates over 10-year yields grew as wide as 52 basis points, a level not seen since March 2007, according to Refinitiv data.

The deepening curve inversion reflects investors' nervousness about a recession and uncertainties over the trade conflict between China and the United States.

"It's not a sign of confidence in inflation or a pickup in growth," Lorizio said.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he expected a trade deal with China after positive gestures by Beijing following a global stock market rout last week.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it had not heard of any recent telephone call between the United States and China on trade. This raised doubts whether the world's two biggest economies can reach a trade deal in the foreseeable future.

A closely followed J.P. Morgan survey suggested blistering demand for Treasuries has tapered a tad as the share of investors who said they were neutral on longer-dated U.S. government debt grew to 54% on Monday, up from 49% a week ago.

On the data front, U.S. consumer confidence weakened a bit in August even though consumers' optimism on their present situation hit its strongest level since late 2000, the Conference Board said.

August 27 Tuesday 2:53PM New York / 1853 GMT

Price

US T BONDS SEP9 USc1

166-18/32

47/32

10YR TNotes SEP9 TYc1

131-36/256

12/32

Price

Current Yield %

Net Change (bps)

Three-month bills US3MT=RR

1.9525

1.9951

-0.003

Six-month bills US6MT=RR

1.845

1.8883

-0.005

Two-year note US2YT=RR

100-106/256

1.5305

-0.020

Three-year note US3YT=RR

100-42/256

1.4432

-0.030

Five-year note US5YT=RR

101-178/256

1.3925

-0.037

Seven-year note US7YT=RR

102-208/256

1.4466

-0.042

10-year note US10YT=RR

101-68/256

1.4879

-0.056

30-year bond US30YT=RR

106-124/256

1.9627

-0.077

YIELD CURVE

Last (bps)

Net Change (bps)

10-year vs 2-year yield

-4.50

-3.95

30-year vs 5-year yield

57.00

-4.80

DOLLAR SWAP SPREADS

Last (bps)

Net Change (bps)

U.S. 2-year dollar swap spread

-2.25

-1.00

U.S. 3-year dollar swap spread

-4.50

-0.75

U.S. 5-year dollar swap spread

-6.00

-0.50

U.S. 10-year dollar swap spread

-9.25

-0.50

U.S. 30-year dollar swap spread

-39.50

-0.25

GRAPHIC-U.S. yield curvehttp://tmsnrt.rs/2zUqXiW

GRAPHIC-U.S. Fed's next rate cut? pnghttps://tmsnrt.rs/2yqy9R4

GRAPHIC-U.S. Fed's next rate cut? interactivehttps://tmsnrt.rs/2yrEpbn

GRAPHIC-Investors positions in longer-dated US Treasuries https://tmsnrt.rs/2V9OjHR

GRAPHIC-Investors positions in longer-dated US Treasuries interactivehttps://tmsnrt.rs/2VeUaMr

(Reporting by Richard Leong Editing by Paul Simao, Steve Orlofsky and Tom Brown)

((richard.leong@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6313; Reuters Messaging: richard.leong.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net; Twitter @RichardLeong2))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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