A Roadmap for Rates

Uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s timeline for tapering quantitative easing has resulted in increased volatility in fixed income markets. While the coming months could see the 10-year Treasury yield climb as high as 3.5 percent, the resulting economic slowdown will keep rates subdued in the medium-term.

Recent volatility in the bond market is a direct result of investor reaction to recent statements by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The central bank’s stronger-than-expected economic projections and the implications for a faster tapering of quantitative easing caused the recent sell-off in U.S. Treasuries. In the near-term, a number of factors suggest that long-term rates can continue to climb higher. Whether valuing long-term rates by economic fundamentals, technical indicators or a number of other methods, our analysis suggests that the yield on 10-year Treasuries could rise above 3.25 percent by the end of the summer, to as high as 3.50 percent.

These higher rates are likely to be short lived, however. The housing market is already feeling the impact of higher mortgage rates and by August the full effect those rates have on housing affordability will begin to show up in economic data. Given the increasing importance of housing to the overall economic recovery, a drag on housing activity will undoubtedly hold back GDP growth. Once the economy begins to cool, lower interest rates will follow.

A Ceiling for 10-Year Treasury Yields

Historically, the spread between the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries and the federal funds target rate has never exceeded 400 basis points. As the U.S. Federal Reserve remains committed to keeping the federal funds rate unchanged in the 0-0.25 percent range for a considerable period of time, the current rally in 10-year Treasury yields is unlikely to push beyond 4 percent without a rate hike.


Source: Bloomberg, Guggenheim Investments. Data as of 6/30/2013.

Recent Releases Solid in the U.S.

  • The ISM manufacturing PMI was slightly above forecasts in June at 50.9, after dipping below 50 in May.
  • University of Michigan consumer confidence in June was revised upward to 84.1, slightly under May’s six-year high of 84.5.
  • Personal income rose a better-than-expected 0.5% in May.
  • Consumer spending rebounded by 0.3% in May, after falling 0.3% in April.
  • The Chicago PMI fell to 51.6 in June from 58.7 last month.
  • Initial jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 346,000 for the week ended June 22nd.
  • Construction spending in the U.S. increased for a second consecutive month in May, up 0.5%.
  • Pending home sales jumped 6.7% in May, the most since April 2010.

Positive Signs in Europe, Outlook Darkens in China

  • Economic confidence in the euro zone rose to 91.3 in June, a one-year high.
  • The euro zone manufacturing PMI was revised up to 48.8 in June, the slowest pace of contraction since February 2012.
  • Retail sales in Germany were up 0.8% in May, the most in four months.
  • Unemployment in Germany decreased for the first time in four months in June, falling by 12,000.
  • Business confidence in Italy was at a 16-month high in June at 90.2.
  • The U.K.’s manufacturing PMI rose to 52.5 in June, a two-year high.
  • China’s official manufacturing PMI fell to 50.1 in June, a four-month low, while the HSBC PMI showed a nine-month low of 48.2.
  • Industrial production in Japan jumped 2.0% in May, the largest one-month gain since December 2011.
  • Japan’s Tankan survey of large manufacturers showed a positive outlook for the first time in two years.

This article is distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investing advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. This article contains opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Guggenheim Partners or its subsidiaries. The author’s opinions are subject to change without notice. Forward looking statements, estimates, and certain information contained herein are based upon proprietary and non-proprietary research and other sources. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not assured as to accuracy. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of Guggenheim Partners, LLC. © 2013, Guggenheim Partners. Past performance is not indicative of future results. There is neither representation nor warranty as to the current accuracy of, nor liability for, decisions based on such information.

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