The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell to the lowest level since February on Wednesday, continuing a slide that appears to reflect investor uncertainty over the pace of the economic recovery.
The yield on the benchmark Treasury note fell 5 basis points to 1.318% at 4:00 p.m., while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond dipped 6 basis points to 1.93%.
The 10-year yield rose as high as 1.78% in March as markets rode a wave of optimism that government stimulus and reopenings would spur a rapid economic acceleration. It has declined even though worries about surging inflation remain elevated.
“This is likely a shift in market narrative: away from inflation concerns to concerns about the sustainability of growth momentum,” said Vasileios Gkionakis, head of FX strategy at Banque Lombard Odier & Cie SA.
Most leading economic indicators have pulled back from their highest levels, while the job market continues to heal at a slower-than-expected pace.
“There is a growing contingent of market participants that are buying into the idea that we’ve reached peak growth — essentially that the most impressive days of the recovery are behind us,” Jeffries economist Thomas Simons told The Wall Street Journal.
Traders and fund managers also attributed the fall in long-dated yields to the unwinding of bets by some hedge funds. “I think a lot of this is just short-covering,” Justin Lederer, interest rate strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald, told Reuters. “The market is not ready to go to higher yields and every little down tick is quickly met with buyers.”
Some analysts still believe the 10-year Treasury will hit 2% by the end of 2021.
“We anticipate that the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield will finish the year at 2.0%,” Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments, wrote in a recent research report, arguing that the sluggish pace of recovery in jobs is temporary, while rising debt and other factors won’t lead to a persistent shift in inflation.