Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What’s Driving Yields Higher (except)

Only a few weeks ago, we all figured out why bond yields had dropped close to zero in the Eurozone. It was mostly because the ECB implemented QE on March 9, and pledged to buy bonds yielding at least the same as the central bank’s deposit rate, which was lowered to minus 0.20% on September 4.

That hasn’t changed. So why the backup in bond yields? Maybe the markets have concluded that the ECB’s QE will avert deflation and boost the Eurozone’s economic growth. The rebound in oil prices certainly helped to allay some of the deflation concerns in the bond market.

Oil prices stopped falling on January 13. The price of copper stopped falling on January 29, and is up 18% since then. Both have been highly correlated with the US bond yield over the past year. The rebound in the price of oil may be a correction of a severely oversold condition. The supply/demand balance remains bearish, but turmoil in the Middle East is recurring and tends to add a risk premium to the price of oil.

The price of copper may reflect an improving global economy in general and a strengthening Chinese economy in particular. More likely, it reflects expectations that the Chinese government will provide lots of stimulus to revive China’s growth rate, which isn’t likely to happen.

Today's Morning Briefing: Major Tom & the Fed. (1) Ground Control has lost control of the bond market. (2) Bond yields should maintain current altitude for a while. (3) Stocks ready to go into outer space? (4) A simple theory for the backup in yields. (5) Close correlation between bond yield and oil and copper prices over past year. (6) US bond market no longer for isolationists. (7) Four Fed heads speak. (8) No big surprise in Q1 earnings season’s positive surprise. (9) Financials and Health Care sectors save the quarter. (10) Energy earnings crash and burn, but S&P 500 earnings up impressive 11.5% y/y ex-Energy. (More for subscribers.)

No comments: