The U.S. Treasury yield curve inverts for the first time since the Global Financial Crisis.

Apple Boston

2019-04-09 11:29:00 Tue ET

The U.S. Treasury yield curve inverts for the first time since the Global Financial Crisis. The key term spread between the 10-year and 3-month U.S. Treasury yields dives below nil (i.e. the latter now exceeds the former by a positive increment). In response, Dow Jones tumbles 400 points as this brief yield curve inversion sparks recessionary concerns.

Treasury yield curve inversions have indeed preceded all of the 7 U.S. recessions since the 1970s. From a fundamental perspective, these key yield curve inversions reflect the pervasive fear that firms become reluctant to raise debt to fund positive net-present-value capital investment projects when households tend to fixate on near-term consumption with minimal leverage for longer-run investments in stocks, bonds, and real estate properties.

A flat or negative yield curve suggests that investors prefer to keep their money in short-term bonds as longer-term bonds exhibit greater reinvestment risk.

Whether the current yield curve inversion portends an economic recession in the next few years depends on the eventual resolution of economic policy uncertainty around Sino-American trade compromises, fiscal budget negotiations, and Federal Reserve interest rate adjustments from 2019 to 2020. This inversion may signal a stark sign of major economic events from a typically emphatic bellwether.

 


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