Date Published: January 21, 2020
Optimism towards more fiscal stimulus has been the latest contributor to the move higher in government bond yields. With Democrats gaining influence over the Senate, a near-$2 trillion package has been put on the table by President Biden. This comes on top of a $900 billion bipartisan deal struck in the final days of last year to support struggling American households and businesses. A government safety net firmly in place improves consumer sentiment, let alone the momentum shift that will naturally occur as improved household finances dovetail with fewer business restraints as vaccine distribution builds within the population in the coming quarters.
Higher growth expectations come with higher inflation expectations. In Chart 1, we show that market-based inflation expectations have continued to rise since the worst of the pandemic-induced sell-off in March 2020. After falling to less than 0.9% at that time, market participants now see inflation consistent with the Fed’s target, at 2.1%.Likewise, this earlier rebound in inflation is paralleled in rate hike expectations. As we show in Chart 2, market pricing for the Fed’s policy rate a decade from now is starting to move up. After hitting rock bottom in August 2020, the expected policy rate has increased approximately 60 basis points. It is no coincidence that the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield has paralleled this movement.
Despite the recent swift repricing, the policy rate has more room to go. The market is expecting the fed funds rate to be only 0.9% in the long run. In contrast, Federal Reserve members see it closer to 2.5%. Our expectation is right in between those two worlds, where we have penciled in the effective rate at 1.85%. This has two implications. The first is that it would still leave a modestly negative real rate that can hardly be considered as restrictive. The second is that the UST 10-year yield will need to rise further, as markets gradually price a higher endpoint for the fed funds rate. We draw the same conclusion for Canada, where an end-target policy rate of 1.75% should correspond with long-term bond yields of around 2%.
This shift in central bank expectations doesn’t occur overnight. Until the central bank hints at the road map, the yield curve will continue to steepen with the short end pinned to a floor. In mid-December, the Fed maintained a commitment to keep its policy rate at effectively zero through 2023. This commitment is not written in stone, however. It is based on developments and assumptions at that point in time. Higher economic growth expectations from a much larger injection of fiscal stimulus, combined with a successful vaccine rollout could pull forward the timing of a rate hike. Even so, any pull-forward in the timing would likely be a modest adjustment of one-to-two quarters in the absence of sustained build-up in inflationary pressures.
Since the short-end of the curve reflects the agreement between market participants and the central bank, the spread between the UST 10-year and UST 2-year yield reached a three year high of 90 basis points last week. This steepening of the yield curve is exactly what investors should expect at this point in the economic cycle (Chart 3). Just like in past cycles, after reaching a trough right before the recession, the yield curve pivots well ahead of the exit of a cycle, steepening even during the worst of the pandemic.
The shift in economic risks has taken some of the shine off the U.S. dollar. After peaking in late-March 2020, the greenback has since depreciated approximately 12%. Though much of this move was an unwind of the pandemic-induced flight-to-safety trade, the sell-off has gone even further. The dollar is now trading approximately 3% below its pre-pandemic level.
The recent greenback weakness has a lot to do with the nature of the global economic recovery. Economies that are leveraged to the boom in manufacturing have seen their currencies outperform. Just take a look at China. It has flexed its economic prowess, being the only major economy in the world to achieve positive GDP growth over 2020. At the same time, the US economy is 3% below last year’s GDP level. China’s dominance in manufacturing exports contributed to the more than 10% appreciation of its currency versus the U.S. dollar from its 2020 low.
With China’s success has come renewed demand for raw materials. Commodity exporting countries like Canada and Australia have benefited from the lift in prices for raw materials, like copper and iron ore. Even though both Canada and Australia are still in the process of recovering, the demand for their exports has caused their currencies to appreciate to levels consistent with their long-term fair value.
This isn’t to say there isn’t more upside. Take the case of the Canadian dollar. Though it has appreciated with the non-energy commodity story, further upside can occur on the back of renewed energy demand. The vast majority of energy consumption comes from mobility – driving cars or flying in planes. With mobility likely to increase in 2021, demand for energy could push prices even higher. The Canadian dollar would likely appreciate along with it.
|Interest Rates||Spot Rate||2020||2021||2022|
|Overnight Target Rate||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25|
|3-mth T-Bill Rate||0.06||0.21||0.20||0.12||0.06||0.05||0.10||0.15||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20|
|2-yr Govt. Bond Yield||0.16||0.42||0.28||0.25||0.20||0.20||0.25||0.30||0.30||0.30||0.35||0.40||0.50|
|5-yr Govt. Bond Yield||0.43||0.60||0.36||0.36||0.39||0.45||0.55||0.70||0.80||0.95||1.05||1.15||1.25|
|10-yr Govt. Bond Yield||0.83||0.71||0.52||0.57||0.67||0.85||1.00||1.15||1.30||1.40||1.55||1.65||1.70|
|30-yr Govt. Bond Yield||1.46||1.30||0.99||1.11||1.21||1.45||1.55||1.65||1.75||1.85||1.95||2.05||2.15|
|10-yr-2-yr Govt Spread||0.66||0.29||0.24||0.32||0.47||0.65||0.75||0.85||1.00||1.10||1.20||1.25||1.20|
|Fed Funds Target Rate||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25|
|3-mth T-Bill Rate||0.08||0.11||0.16||0.10||0.09||0.10||0.10||0.10||0.10||0.10||0.10||0.10||0.10|
|2-yr Govt. Bond Yield||0.13||0.23||0.16||0.13||0.13||0.15||0.18||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.25||0.30||0.35|
|5-yr Govt. Bond Yield||0.44||0.37||0.29||0.28||0.36||0.50||0.60||0.70||0.80||0.90||0.95||1.05||1.15|
|10-yr Govt. Bond Yield||1.08||0.70||0.66||0.69||0.93||1.10||1.25||1.40||1.50||1.55||1.60||1.65||1.70|
|30-yr Govt. Bond Yield||1.83||1.35||1.41||1.46||1.65||1.85||1.95||2.05||2.15||2.20||2.25||2.30||2.35|
|10-yr-2-yr Govt Spread||0.95||0.47||0.50||0.56||0.80||0.95||1.07||1.20||1.30||1.35||1.35||1.35||1.35|
|CANADA - U.S SPREADS|
|Can - U.S. T-Bill Spread||-0.02||0.10||0.04||0.02||-0.03||-0.05||0.00||0.05||0.10||0.10||0.10||0.10||0.10|
|Can - U.S. 10-Year Bond Spread||-0.25||0.01||-0.14||-0.12||-0.26||-0.25||-0.25||-0.25||-0.20||-0.15||-0.05||0.00||0.00|
|Interest Rates||Spot Rate||2020||2021||2022|
|ECB Deposit Rate||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50||-0.50|
|3-mth T-Bill Rate||-0.59||-0.71||-0.56||-0.62||-0.77||-0.60||-0.60||-0.60||-0.60||-0.60||-0.60||-0.60||-0.60|
|2-yr Govt. Bond Yield||-0.71||-0.70||-0.70||-0.70||-0.72||-0.65||-0.60||-0.55||-0.49||-0.46||-0.42||-0.36||-0.28|
|5-yr Govt. Bond Yield||-0.72||-0.66||-0.70||-0.71||-0.74||-0.65||-0.55||-0.50||-0.44||-0.41||-0.37||-0.31||-0.23|
|10-yr Govt. Bond Yield||-0.53||-0.47||-0.46||-0.52||-0.58||-0.50||-0.40||-0.35||-0.29||-0.26||-0.22||-0.16||-0.08|
|30-yr Govt. Bond Yield||-0.12||0.02||0.00||-0.10||-0.16||-0.15||-0.05||0.00||0.06||0.09||0.13||0.19||0.27|
|10-yr-2-yr Govt Spread||0.18||0.23||0.24||0.18||0.14||0.15||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20|
|3-mth T-Bill Rate||0.01||0.18||0.01||0.00||-0.06||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|2-yr Govt. Bond Yield||-0.12||0.12||-0.08||-0.03||-0.06||-0.05||-0.05||0.00||0.05||0.10||0.15||0.15||0.20|
|5-yr Govt. Bond Yield||-0.03||0.21||-0.05||-0.06||-0.09||0.00||0.05||0.10||0.15||0.20||0.25||0.25||0.30|
|10-yr Govt. Bond Yield||0.30||0.35||0.17||0.23||0.20||0.35||0.40||0.45||0.50||0.55||0.60||0.65||0.70|
|30-yr Govt. Bond Yield||0.88||0.82||0.64||0.78||0.75||0.90||0.95||1.00||1.05||1.10||1.15||1.20||1.25|
|10-yr-2-yr Govt Spread||0.42||0.23||0.25||0.26||0.26||0.40||0.45||0.45||0.45||0.45||0.45||0.50||0.50|
|Exchange rate to U.S. dollar|
|Chinese Yuan||CNY per USD||6.47||7.08||7.07||6.79||6.53||6.50||6.55||6.60||6.65||6.70||6.75||6.80||6.80|
|Japanese yen||JPY per USD||104||108||108||106||103||104||104||103||103||102||102||101||101|
|Euro||USD per EUR||1.21||1.10||1.12||1.17||1.22||1.20||1.21||1.22||1.24||1.25||1.26||1.26||1.26|
|U.K. pound||USD per GBP||1.37||1.25||1.24||1.29||1.37||1.36||1.37||1.37||1.38||1.39||1.39||1.40||1.40|
|Swiss franc||CHF per USD||0.89||0.96||0.95||0.92||0.88||0.89||0.90||0.91||0.92||0.93||0.94||0.95||0.96|
|Canadian dollar||CAD per USD||1.26||1.41||1.36||1.33||1.28||1.27||1.25||1.24||1.23||1.24||1.25||1.25||1.26|
|Australian dollar||USD per AUD||0.77||0.61||0.69||0.72||0.77||0.77||0.77||0.76||0.75||0.74||0.73||0.73||0.73|
|NZ dollar||USD per NZD||0.72||0.60||0.65||0.66||0.72||0.72||0.72||0.71||0.69||0.68||0.67||0.67||0.67|
|Exchange rate to Euro|
|U.S. dollar||USD per EUR||1.21||1.10||1.12||1.17||1.22||1.20||1.21||1.22||1.24||1.25||1.26||1.26||1.26|
|Japanese yen||JPY per EUR||125||118||121||124||126||124||126||127||127||128||128||128||127|
|U.K. pound||GBP per EUR||0.89||0.89||0.91||0.91||0.90||0.88||0.89||0.89||0.90||0.90||0.90||0.90||0.90|
|Swiss franc||CHF per EUR||1.08||1.06||1.06||1.08||1.08||1.07||1.09||1.12||1.14||1.16||1.18||1.19||1.21|
|Canadian dollar||CAD per EUR||1.53||1.56||1.53||1.56||1.56||1.53||1.52||1.52||1.53||1.55||1.56||1.58||1.59|
|Australian dollar||AUD per EUR||1.56||1.79||1.63||1.64||1.59||1.56||1.57||1.61||1.65||1.69||1.72||1.72||1.73|
|NZ dollar||NZD per EUR||1.69||1.85||1.74||1.77||1.70||1.67||1.68||1.72||1.79||1.84||1.87||1.88||1.88|
|Exchange rate to Japanese yen|
|U.S. dollar||JPY per USD||104||108||108||106||103||104||104||103||103||102||102||101||101|
|Euro||JPY per EUR||125||118||121||124||126||124||126||127||127||128||128||128||127|
|U.K. pound||JPY per GBP||141||134||133||136||141||141||142||142||142||142||142||142||141|
|Swiss franc||JPY per CHF||116.4||111.7||113.8||114.9||116.7||115.9||115.3||113.6||111.9||110.2||108.6||107.0||105.4|
|Canadian dollar||JPY per CAD||82.0||76.1||79.2||79.2||80.9||81.4||83.0||83.4||83.4||82.6||81.8||80.9||80.1|
|Australian dollar||JPY per AUD||80.2||66.0||74.3||75.6||79.5||79.7||80.0||78.6||77.2||75.8||74.4||74.0||73.6|
|NZ dollar||JPY per NZD||74.2||64.1||69.5||69.8||74.2||74.5||74.8||73.4||71.0||69.6||68.3||67.9||67.6|
|Exchange rate to Canadian dollar|
|U.S. dollar||USD per CAD||0.79||0.71||0.74||0.75||0.78||0.79||0.80||0.81||0.81||0.81||0.80||0.80||0.79|
|Japanese yen||JPY per CAD||82.0||76.1||79.2||79.2||80.9||81.4||83.0||83.4||83.4||82.6||81.8||80.9||80.1|
|Euro||CAD per EUR||1.53||1.56||1.53||1.56||1.56||1.53||1.52||1.52||1.53||1.55||1.56||1.58||1.59|
|U.K. pound||CAD per GBP||1.73||1.76||1.68||1.72||1.74||1.73||1.71||1.70||1.70||1.72||1.74||1.75||1.76|
|Swiss franc||CHF per CAD||0.70||0.68||0.70||0.69||0.69||0.70||0.72||0.73||0.75||0.75||0.75||0.76||0.76|
|Australian dollar||AUD per CAD||1.02||1.15||1.07||1.05||1.02||1.02||1.04||1.06||1.08||1.09||1.10||1.09||1.09|
|NZ dollar||NZD per CAD||1.10||1.19||1.14||1.14||1.09||1.09||1.11||1.14||1.18||1.19||1.20||1.19||1.19|
|Major Market Indexes||Price||30-Day||YTD||52-Week||52-Week|
|Jan-20||% Chg.||% Chg.||High||Low|
|MSCI AC World Index*||661||3.3||2.3||664||384|
|Crude Oil (WTI, $US/bbl)||53||59||-38||46||28||41||42||51||52||53||53||54||54||55||55|
|Natural Gas ($US/MMBtu)||2.60||3.04||1.35||1.91||1.71||1.99||2.53||2.80||2.70||2.60||3.00||3.10||2.90||2.80||3.15|
|Gold ($US/troy oz.)||1871||2064||1471||1582||1708||1909||1874||1875||1850||1850||1825||1800||1775||1750||1725|
|Silver (US$/troy oz.)||25.85||29.13||11.98||16.90||16.38||24.34||24.45||25.00||24.50||24.50||23.50||23.25||23.00||22.75||22.50|
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