Fixed Income Outlook: The Rocky Road Bond Market

Although some volatility may continue, we believe interest rates have peaked. We expect lower Treasury yields and positive returns for investors in 2024.

The case for lower interest rates in 2024 is straightforward, but the path is likely to be rocky. We expect bond yields to decline in line with falling inflation and slower economic growth, but uncertainty about the Federal Reserve's policy moves will likely be a source of volatility. Nonetheless, we are optimistic that fixed income will deliver positive returns in 2024.

Sorry Mr Powell All We Have Is Rocky Road

For illustrative purposes only.

Lower yields ahead

The action in the bond market has been anything but plain vanilla over the past year. Ten-year Treasury yields have spanned a huge range—from as low as 3.25% in April in the wake of the banking crisis to as high as 5.02% in October on surprisingly strong third-quarter economic growth. In 2024, we look for lower yields but expect bouts of volatility along the way, as markets continue to try to anticipate shifts in Fed policy. Assuming the Fed continues to lag market expectations for rate cuts, the market will be very attuned to every data point, likely causing yields to trade in wide ranges.

The 10-year Treasury yield has moved in a wide range

Nonetheless, we believe that both short- and long-term yields likely have peaked for the cycle and will continue to fall assuming inflation abates in 2024. In our view, much of the inflation driven by supply shortages early in this cycle has been corrected, but the full impact of the tightening in monetary policy by major central banks is still working its way through the global economy. Slower growth and less inflation pressure should be the result.