Chinks in the armor? I hope your mattress is well-stuffed.
For more than a year, analysts have been warning that record sized debt sales by the US Treasury were at odds with a 10-year yield sitting comfortably below 4 per cent. This week, the yield on 10-year notes jumped from 3.65 per cent to a peak of 3.92 per cent on Thursday. On Friday it was 3.87 per cent.
Chart: TreasuriesFalling inflation, rising unemployment, the housing market slump, the Federal Reserve’s policies of a near zero overnight borrowing rate and its purchase of up to $1,700bn in bonds have all helped keep Treasury yields near historic lows.
But this week the mood shifted as yields for $118bn of new US debt were much higher than forecast, sparking overall selling of Treasuries.
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Worries about the debt loads of developed economies have come into focus this year amid the crisis threatening Greece and other members of the eurozone periphery.
The fact that German Bunds have outperformed both Treasuries and gilts in recent months highlights this increasing worry over public debt. Germany’s budget deficit is much lower than the US and UK and inflation there is also expected to remain low.
“The spotlight on Greece only helped to reveal that the US’s kitchen – with Federal and state budget balances – was itself full of cockroaches,” says William O’Donnell, strategist at RBS Securities.
It hasn’t helped that the US announced a big overhaul of its healthcare system this month, adding to worries about the scale of US spending.