Fed’s Waller Says Jump in 10-Year Yields Is an ‘Earthquake’

(Bloomberg) — A jump in US yields over recent weeks amounts to nothing less than an “earthquake” for the bond market, according to Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller.

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Yields on 10-year Treasuries have climbed more than 100 basis points since the end of July, and are consequently capturing “a tremendous amount of attention,” he said Tuesday, during remarks at a lecture about economic data. While government bonds have rallied over the past few days, easing the benchmark rate to 4.58%, 10-year yields pushed through 5% for the first time since 2007 last month.

“Since the end of July, this thing has gone way up, almost a full percentage point. In central bank terms, in financial markets, that’s an earthquake,” Waller said. “So there’s been a tremendous amount of attention to this long-term rate, and a lot of speculation what’s driving it. I’m not going to get into a lot of it. But that is one of the things people are thinking about.”

Indeed, bond investors are weighing whether the rise in yields is set to resume. Increased government borrowing has boosted expectations for higher rates going forward, while the Fed has left the door open to another interest-rate hike in coming months. However, the higher yields that Waller flagged have tightened financial conditions, potentially removing some of the impetus for further rate increases.

“His remarks need to be understood in context – they were not part of a policy discussion and would likely have been more hedged if they were,” Krishna Guha, vice chairman of Evercore, wrote in a note. “But it still seems fair to take away the impression that the Fed is not taking the position that all the yield-driven tightening of financial conditions unwound last week.”

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