Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Belly of the Treasury Curve Is At Critical Technical Levels
The charts above are for the ETFs that represent the belly of the treasury curve -- the 3-7year (IEIs) and 7-10 year (IEFs) areas. Yesterday there was an incredibly large sell-off in this area of the market, leaving prices right at important support levels.
Until now, the assumption that the Fed would buy bonds in the open market has provided a technical price floor. However, last week's release of the most recent Fed meeting had this paragraph which indicated the bond buying program may be running into internal resistance:
A few members expressed concerns that investor expectations of the cumulative size of the asset purchase program appeared to have increased somewhat since it was launched last September despite a notable decline in the unemployment rate and other improvements in the labor market since then. In contrast, a few other members focused on evidence that market expectations about the total size of the program had changed little, on net, since the program was launched or had responded appropriately to incoming information. Members generally agreed on the need for the Committee to communicate clearly that the pace and ultimate size of its asset purchases would depend on the Committee's continued assessment of the outlook for the labor market and inflation in addition to its judgments regarding the efficacy and costs of additional purchases and the extent of progress toward its economic objectives. To highlight its willingness to adjust the flow of purchases in light of incoming information, the Committee included language in the statement to be released following the meeting that said the Committee was prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes.
And there was this line from the latest Fed policy statement:
The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. The Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. The Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will continue to take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases as well as the extent of progress toward its economic objectives.
See this post from Barry for an explanation.