© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The United States Department of the Treasury is seen in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
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By Herbert Lash and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury yields fell from multi-year highs on Friday after a report suggesting the Federal Reserve is likely to debate in two weeks whether to signal plans for a smaller interest rate hike in December.
The market is pricing in a 75 basis-point hike when Fed policymakers meet on Nov. 1-2, but the U.S. central bank is divided on whether they hike another 75 bps in December or reduce the pace of their tightening to 50 bps, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Fed officials would want to prepare investors for such a decision in the weeks after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in November, the report added.
“This debate about exactly where we should go, and then become more data-dependent, is going to heat up in the last part of the year here,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in a Reuters interview last week.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury hit 4.338% earlier, the highest since November 2007. The yield last fell 1.8 basis points to 4.208%.The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, which typically reflects interest rate expectations, surged to 4.639%, the highest since August 2007. It was last 12.5 bps lower at 4.4872%.
“The market has been hoping or waiting for a (Fed) pause to come along for the last several months of pain as rates have gone up,” said John Luke Tyner, fixed income portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors in Fairhope, Alabama.
“The call for a pause or letting some of the policy play through has increased. We’ll continue to see more calls for a slowdown (in Fed policy) as we feel more and more pain in risk markets,” he added.
The U.S. two-year/10-year yield curve, seen as a recession harbinger, became less inverted on Friday. The gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes, was at -27.5 basis points, that’s the steepest since mid-September.
U.S. 30-year yields soared to a new 11-year peak of 4.384%. They last traded up 9.5 basis points at 4.310%.
The market is torn between those who hope the worst will soon be in the past and those who believe the Fed will tighten policy further at a time when the strong dollar is increasing global tensions, said Andrzej Skiba, head of the BlueBay U.S. Fixed Income team at RBC Global Asset Management.
The breakeven rate on five-year U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) was last at 2.689%.
The 10-year TIPS breakeven rate was last at 2.525%, reflecting the average inflation the market has priced in for the next decade.
The U.S. dollar 5 years forward inflation-linked swap, seen by some as a better gauge of inflation, was last at 2.540%.
October 21 Friday 3:31PM New York / 1931 GMT
Price Current Net
Yield % Change
Three-month bills 3.905 3.997 -0.004
Six-month bills 4.2875 4.4412 -0.079
Two-year note 99-146/256 4.483 -0.127
Three-year note 99-64/256 4.5218 -0.133
Five-year note 99-10/256 4.3429 -0.107
Seven-year note 97-144/256 4.2847 -0.071
10-year note 88-92/256 4.2104 -0.016
20-year bond 84-136/256 4.5699 0.083
30-year bond 78-20/256 4.3135 0.098
DOLLAR SWAP SPREADS
Last (bps) Net
U.S. 2-year dollar swap 37.25 -1.75
U.S. 3-year dollar swap 10.25 -1.25
U.S. 5-year dollar swap 3.00 -0.25
U.S. 10-year dollar swap 0.50 -0.75
U.S. 30-year dollar swap -47.50 -1.75