Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Econ 101b: Fall 2006: November 14, 2006: Yield Curve

The yield curve and the bond market conundrum:

Most recent Federal Reserve Press Release (October 25, 2006): The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 5-1/4 percent...'s Living Yield Curve is excellent: PEOPLE TALK ABOUT interest rates going up and going down as if all rates moved together. The rates on bonds of different maturities behave quite independently of each other, with short-term rates and long-term rates often moving in opposite directions.... The yield curve is what economists use to capture the overall movement of interest rates.... Plot today's yields for various maturities of U.S. Treasury bills and bonds on a graph and you've got today's curve... the line begins on the left with the shortest maturity -- three-month T-bills -- and ends on the right with the longest -- 30-year Treasury Bonds.

Jim Hamilton of UCSD is a little less worried about the "inverted yield curve" than he used to be: To the extent that the decline in the yield spread does represent a fall in the term premium, and if indeed a fall in the term premium itself does not signal an economic slowdown, it means that the current negative yield spread does not have quite as bearish a connotation as the historical correlation between the yield spread and output might otherwise suggest.... [R]ecent week-to-week moves in the yield spread... have been dominated by news about the real economic outlook, with prospects for slower economic growth translating into lower expectations for future short rates and a lower yield spread. Insofar as that's the case, the recent pitch into negative territory must still be regarded as worrisome. But just how worrisome? Slower than normal growth still looks to me like a safe bet. On the other hand, the negative growth characteristic of a recession is a little less likely than I regarded it before studying the latest research...

Treasurys rally after tame PPI, retail sales - MarketWatch: The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond was up 13/32 at 100-16/32, while its yield sank to 4.5620%.... The 2-year note was up 3/32 at 100 9/32, yielding 4.718%, keeping the yield curve inverted. The 30-year bond gained 24/32 to 97-14/32, yielding 4.653%, an 8-month low...


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