Treasury yields jump after Yellen says waiting too long to tighten would be 'unwise'

Cme futures trader tradersGetty ImagesA trader signals an offer in the Standard & Poors 500 stock index futures pit at the CME Group February 20, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.

US Treasury yields are climbing following the release of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s prepared remarks for her semiannual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony.

In her statement, Yellen noted that “waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise, potentially requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession.”

Those comments have reignited fears that the Fed could move more quickly on rate hikes than the market has been anticipating. Ahead of Yellen’s testimony, the market was pricing in just a 32% chance of a rate hike at the March meeting.

Selling is having the biggest impact on the belly of the curve, where yields are up as much as 6 basis points. Here’s a look at the scoreboard as of 10:16 a.m. ET:

  • 2-year +4.1 bps @ 1.242%
  • 3-year +5.1 bps @ 1.541%
  • 5-year +5.5 bps @ 1.970%
  • 7-year +5.6 bps @ 2.296%
  • 10-year +4.3 bps @ 2.479%
  • 30-year +3.6 bps @ 3.068%

Treasury yields rallied sharply following the election on the prospects that President Trump’s policies would bring back inflation to the United States and that the Fed could be more hawkish than initially thought. At its December meeting, the central bank said it could hike rates three times in 2017 versus its previous outlook of two. Selling ran longer dated yields up as much as 80 bps. Yields have spent the past three months stuck in a tight range, and are moving back towards the upper end of those boundaries.

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