- The US 10-year Treasury yield surged as high as 3.23% to its highest level since mid-2011, and other bond markets around the world joined the action.
- The increase followed strong economic data in the US, which fuelled speculation the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates quicker than expected.
- Wall Street experts have long viewed such tightening of liquidity conditions as one of the biggest risks to markets going forward.
The worldwide surge started in the US on Wednesday after private-sector payrolls beat estimates, fuelling speculation that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates more quickly than expected.
The central bank has long said it’s closely watching inflation and the pace of US growth, and new signals of economic strength are commonly seen as emboldening policymakers as they tighten monetary conditions.
The US 10-year Treasury yield climbed as high as 3.23% on Thursday to its highest level since mid-2011.
European government bond yields followed their US counterparts higher Thursday. Meanwhile, stocks across Asia, Europe, and the US traded broadly lower. Equities tend to react negatively to rising bond yields, since they become less attractive relative to their fixed-income peers.
Underlying these daily gyrations are concerns about what increasing bond yields mean for the market as a whole. Every time the Fed raises rates, it constricts money supply, making it more difficult for companies to borrow money as freely as they have throughout the ongoing 10-year economic recovery.
The 9-1/2-year bull market in stocks has been inextricably linked to these easy lending conditions, which have seen many corporations have taken on massive debt loads. As such, many experts across Wall Street have been increasingly sounding the alarm on the potentially widespread impact of worsening liquidity.
That includes the billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller, who recently said in an exclusive interview seen by Business Insider that liquidity would be the primary culprit of the next meltdown.
The ironic part of it all is that these concerns all stem from what is, at its core level, burgeoning economic growth in the US. But it’s for that very reason that the Fed wants to remove the unprecedented safety net it placed under markets after the financial crisis a decade ago.
At the end of the day, the Fed letting the market stand on its own two feet may be a short-term negative for the risk assets that have swelled in value under its policy. But it must be done, and we’re finally getting a taste of how it might play out across global markets.
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