ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


U.S. Treasury prices slipped to session lows Thursday after an encouraging report on the labor market, tilting the 10-year yield back above 2.5%. In early New York trading, benchmark 10-year notes lost 10/32 in price to yield 2.502%, according to Tradeweb. The 30-year bond gave up 22/32 to yield 3.294%. Bond yields rise when prices fall.

The latest weekly claims report showed the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits falling to its lowest level since 2006. The release adds to a string of recent signals that the U.S. labor market continues to improve.

Those losses add to the overnight price decline, which came on the back of upbeat manufacturing readings out of China and Europe.

Still, Thursday’s pullback in U.S. Treasury prices keeps the market well within its recent trading range. The 10-year yield has held within 0.06 percentage point all week, and at around a historically low 2.5%, it signals a lack of confidence, either about the economy or geopolitical tensions around the world.

“Treasurys continue to be led by external factors,” says David Ader, government bond strategist at CRT Capital Group. “That is, our action is not about the immediacy of our fundamental data.”

Bond traders say it will take acknowledgment and action from the Federal Reserve that the economy is improving for upbeat data to spur a larger selloff in bonds. The Fed’s policy-setting board meets on July 29-30 and will deliver an updated policy announcement.

Treasury investors expect, with near certainty, that the central bank will cut another $10 billion from its monthly bond purchases. The bond-buying program is expected to end this fall.

Investors will be watching for language describing the U.S. economy and how that influences the timing of the first rate increase. For now, many investors anticipate the move to come in the middle of next year.

Still ahead, the U.S. is scheduled to sell $15 billion in 10-year Treasurys inflation-protected securities. TIPS have lagged behind lately as investors question if the recent perk-up in inflation will persist.

The yield gap between 10-year TIPS and regular Treasurys currently reflects investor expectations for 2.25% in annual inflation in the coming decade.