Government bond exchange traded funds jumped Wednesday as benchmark 10-year yields on U.S. Treasuries and municipal debt securities dipped below 2% for the first time in over a year.
The iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEF), which has a 7.63 year effective duration, was up 0.9% Wednesday while the iShares National AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF (NYSEArca: MUB), which has a 6.35 year duration, was 0.5% higher. Year-to-date, IEF has increased 8.6% and MUB gained 9.1%.
The yields on benchmark 10-year Treasuries fell to as low as 1.858% Wednesday, the lowest intra-day level since may 2013, reports Min Zeng for the Wall Street Journal. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with yields, so a falling yield reflects rising prices. [Sour Market Sends Investors to Bond ETFs]
“There is a rush to buy flight-to-quality bonds like Treasurys,’’ Tom di Galoma, head of fixed income rates at ED & F Man Capital Markets, said in the Bloomberg article.
U.S. government debt is attracting safe-haven investors after a round of weak U.S. economic data Wednesday compounded global economic concerns. Many observers are now questioning the ability of the U.S. to hold up against ailing economies overseas, notably in Europe. The Federal Reserve has also said it will be be patient in raising interest rates, citing weakness in Europe at its last policy meeting.
The government revealed that U.S. retail sales experienced a 0.3% decline last month while the producer-price index, a gauge of wholesale inflation, dipped 0.1% in September.