U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday with shorter-dated ones reaching their highest levels in over a decade as the Federal Reserve hinted the U.S. economic expansion remained on track, which warrants further interest rate increases.
Fed policy makers, as expected, left key short-term lending rates at 2.00-2.25 percent following a two-day meeting. Their policy statement signaled more rate hikes on the way with the next one expected next month, which would be their fourth hike this year.
Some traders had speculated the Fed may tone down its rhetoric to calm financial markets that were roiled in October partly on worries about rising interest rates.
“There are those people who are unsatisfied by this statement because they were looking for a more dovish tone after last month’s market volatility,” said Gene Tannuzzo, deputy global head of fixed income with Columbia Threadneedle in Minneapolis.
“There is nothing in the broad data that would shake them from the current policy path,” he said.
Interest rate futures implied a 78 percent chance the U.S. central bank would raise rates at its Dec. 18-19 meeting, little changed from late on Wednesday, CME Group’s FedWatch program showed.
“The labor market has continued to strengthen and ... economic activity has been rising at a strong rate,” the Fed said in its latest policy statement.
The two-year yield, which is most sensitive to traders’ view on Fed policy, finished close to 2.977 percent, the highest in 10-1/2 years after the Fed statement.
The five-year yield rose over 3 basis points at 3.088 percent after touching 3.098 percent, the highest in a decade.
Longer-dated Treasury yields increased less than their shorter-dated counterparts as inflation remains tame despite a tight jobs market. Expectations of slower growth and uncertain from tariffs will likely keep a lid on longer-term yields, keeping the yield curve flat, analysts said.
“I don’t think inflation is a problem. In the U.S., we are past peak growth,” said Jack McIntyre, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global in Philadelphia.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose 2 basis points to 3.234 percent. It was still below the 7-1/2 year high of 3.261 percent set a month ago during a bond market rout.
The gap between two-year and 10-year yield shrank 1 basis point to 26.40 basis points, close its tightest level in about five weeks.