Saturday, 12 December 2009

US Treasury Yield Curve Steepest Since at Least 1980 After Auction

The following article from Bloomberg draws attention to the very notable widening of the US Treasury yield curve as revealed in the chart above.

Treasuries fell, with the gap in yields between 2- and 30-year securities reaching the widest margin since at least 1980, after a $13 billion offering of 30- year bonds drew lower-than-forecast demand.

The so-called yield curve touched 372 basis points, the most in at least 29 years, as the bonds drew a yield of 4.52 percent. The so-called yield curve has widened from 191 basis points at the end of 2008, with the Fed anchoring its target rate at a record-low range of zero to 0.25 percent and the Treasury extending the average maturity of U.S. debt.

Treasury officials on Nov. 4 announced a long-term target of six to seven years for the average maturity of Treasury debt and said the department wants to cut back on its issuance of bills and two- and three-year notes. The shift to longer- maturity debt has raised concern that investors will demand higher yields to offset the risk of inflation as government spending drives the deficit to a record $1.4 trillion.

“The market is continuing to worry about the massive amount of Treasury issuance that’s going to hit the market well into next year,” said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist at CRT Capital Group LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “In the very short term, part of it is going to be supply accommodation.”

Even though S&P and Moody's may not be concerned about the credit rating of the US Government, the market seems to be factoring in an increasing risk premium as the maturity of the debt stretches further out. Also, barely need to mention this, but Moody's and S&P have been spectacularly wrong before.

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