TREASURIES-US yields rise as traders wait on data, supply

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 04/22/24 10:16 AM EDT

By Karen Brettell

April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury yields rose on Monday as investors waited on data for new clues on when the Federal Reserve is likely to begin cutting interest rates, and before the Treasury will sell $183 billion in new supply.

Yields have risen to five-month highs since hotter-than-expected consumer price pressures for March released earlier this month dashed hopes that elevated prices in January and February were an anomaly, and raised the prospect that inflation may remain sticky for some time.

Policymakers including Chair Jerome Powell last week backed away from providing any guidance on when interest rates may be cut, saying instead that monetary policy needs to be restrictive for longer.

With a strong labor market also buoying the economy, that leaves the U.S. central bank and markets waiting on data for the next clues on direction.

"Markets are going to be trying to carve out some new ranges ahead of GDP and PCE data late in the week but really the only thing to focus on ahead of that is supply," said Gennadiy Goldberg, head of U.S. rates strategy at TD Securities in New York.

This week's main economic focuses will be gross domestic product (GDP) data on Thursday and Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) on Friday. The PCE data is expected to show that core prices rose by 0.3% in March for an annual gain of 2.7%.

Demand for Treasuries will also be tested when the Treasury sells $69 billion in two-year notes on Tuesday, $70 billion in five-year notes on Wednesday and $44 billion in seven-year notes on Thursday.

The recent run-up in yields, however, could leave the market vulnerable to a large snapback if economic data disappoints.

"Markets are a little bit over-enthusiastic about economic data recently," said Goldberg. "The risk for markets though is that as we've carved out these new ranges, any sort of weakness in economic data could actually reverse the recent moves quite violently."

Benchmark 10-year note yields rose two basis points to 4.639%. They are holding just below the 4.696% level reached on April 16, which if broken would be the highest since early November. Two-year yields were little changed on the day at 4.976%. They reached 5.012% on April 11, the highest since mid-November.

The inversion in the yield curve between two-year and 10-year notes narrowed by three basis points to minus 34 basis points.

Fed funds futures traders are pricing in only 40 basis points of easing this year and see the first cut as most likely in September or November. They had previously priced in three 25 basis point rate cuts this year, beginning in June.

Fed officials are now in a blackout period before the April 30/May 1 meeting.

Concerns about rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East remain a wild card that could boost demand for Treasuries and drag yields lower.

At least five rockets were launched from Iraq's town of Zummar towards a U.S. military base in northeastern Syria on Sunday, two Iraqi security sources and a U.S. official told Reuters. (Reporting By Karen Brettell; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

In general the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so avoiding losses caused by price volatility by holding them until maturity is not possible.

Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

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