Long-Term Yields Rise, Short Fall as Fed Chair Tones Down Rate-Hiking Policy

Benchmark long-term Treasury yields rose while short-term yields fell as investors were hanging on every word of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday when Powell said that rates are “just below neutral,” signaling a less aggressive rate-hiking policy moving forward.

The benchmark 10-year note went to 3.066 and the 30-year ticked higher to 3.348. Notes with short-term maturities fell as the 2-year yield went down to 2.813 and the 5-year fell to 2.877.

“Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth,” said Powell.

Powell noted that the economy is “near max employment, price stability” and major asset class valuations are “not far in excess,” which could mean there may be more room to run for U.S. equities. Furthermore, Powell states that the economy is growing “well above most estimates” and that “there is a great deal to like about this outlook.”

The Federal Reserve has hiked rates three times this year, which has drawn the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump who has lambasted the Fed whenever the markets experience significant downturns. The sell-offs in October and in the weeks leading up to Powell’s speech saw volatile markets affecting all sectors, particularly technology.

The CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, an algorithm that calculates the probability of a rate hike in a given month, is now showing an 82.7% chance the Federal Reserve will institute a fourth rate hike for December. Powell’s latest comments come as various Fed members signaled dovish tones to various media outlets.