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Three's not a magic number

| Posted by: Paul Donovan | Tags: Paul Donovan Weekly

The 10-year US Treasury yield moved above 3% in the past week. Do economists care? They do not. There is no economic difference between a 3% yield and a 2.98% yield. There is little economic difference between a 3% yield and a 2.7% yield. The real economy is not going to change as a result of this bond yield change.

The unfunded US fiscal stimulus will increase US bond supply. The US central bank will increase interest rates, reflecting rising inflation. However, bond markets still have a lot of captive investors. Many US bond owners have to own bonds (rather than want to own bonds). The US Federal Reserve, foreign central banks and domestic banks own a majority of the US bond market. Economics have pushed bond yields up. Captive investors will keep bond yields below the trend rate of economic growth.

The US central bank is not likely to speed up its rate increases. The recent rise in the oil price is not something that will cause central banks to react directly. Central banks worry about a general rise in prices (inflation), not one product price rising. Central banks will only worry if higher oil prices lead to higher wages.