Bonds were tentatively ready to confirm a top in yields and runaway inflation in May, but hotter CPI in the Eurozone and the US caused one last revision to the outlook. At the time, we discussed the possibility that the June 10th CPI data was a bit of misdirection play–an outlier in a data landscape that was indeed showing signs of a turn.
CPI’s timing was ideal for a misdirection play as it happened on a Friday before Fed week, all at a time when the Fed was MOSTLY committed to 50bp hikes unless the data suggested 75bps. CPI arguably did that, but the market was forced to wait to hear from the Fed because they were in their “blackout period” (i.e. the typical 12 day time frame before a Fed announcement during which the Fed refrains from public comment on policy).
Without the Fed around to put things in perspective, markets priced in the most hawkish scenario. 10yr yields ultimately hit 3.50% and mortgage rates moved up into the 6’s. Once the Fed finally had its say, markets began to calm down.
Fast forward 3 weeks and early June is looking even more like an explosion that puts out the fire. A streak of almost universally weaker economic data at home and abroad has been adding to the gains since Tuesday morning. Traders who made the mistake of shorting bonds at the last apparent bounce (Friday-Monday) have increasingly been forced to cover, thus adding momentum to the rally over the past 2 days.
While this rally likely has limits in the short term, it arguably confirms that we’ve seen the highest rates of 2022 barring some unforeseen shock to the inflation outlook.
Keep in mind that any time 10yr yields drop 20bps before 11am (as they did to start the day today), a pull-back is entirely normal. The bigger-picture victory here is the decisive break below the 3% floor and the relegation of 3.5% to the “distant memory” category. To be clear though, it still makes more sense to view the road ahead as a volatile, sideways range for the next few months. It would take at least that long for the Fed to start talking about inflation being defeated (or rather, to start talking about how they would ACT on such a conclusion).