Interest rate monitor: Bond prices weaker

Bond traders are in no mood to be the last one out of the exit today. Friday’s U.S. employment report provided enough reason to start lightening the safe-haven payload of government debt, while the support from French President Sarkozy for the government of Greece was enough to spark a risk revival in equities, commodities and riskier currencies. Such a move argues against the recent bid to bonds and as such 10-year yields are higher across the board, except for those of Greece and Spain.

Eurodollar futures –Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker speaking in Germany at the weekend argued that now is not the time to dispense with either fiscal or monetary efforts to spur demand. Nevertheless, a revisit to breakeven for U.S. equities for the year based upon building confidence that there is sufficient momentum to deliver a sustainable economic recovery is helping drag bond yields higher. The 10-year yield rose three basis points to start the week and is sitting at 3.71% as the June note future slipped seven ticks to 116-26. Losses for Eurodollar futures are larger at farther maturities with three tick declines evident from June 2011 outwards.

Canada’s 90-day BA’s – The spread between U.S. and Canadian 10-year bonds is once again widening as yield increases are more evident in American government debt. The Canadian dollar has held firm against its U.S. counterpart as investors warm towards the more fiscally sound properties of the Canadian government’s measures. Nevertheless, bill prices are down harder than Eurodollar futures today possibly because rising commodity prices are a sign that a recovering economy may well deliver harsher monetary measures sooner rather than later. The spread between June and December bills continues to stretch wider as a result with the spread of 84 basis points indicating three quarter point rate increases during the second half of 2010.

European short futures – Euribor futures are a little brighter this morning and it is the back end of the curve where the relief pressures are being felt. With money traders concluding that the fallout over Greece will ensure a slower pace of growth, no one is expecting the ECB to raise rates anytime soon. But June bund prices slid earlier as yields rose to 3.18%. Losses have subsequently been curtailed with the June contract having rebounded from an intraday low of 122.26 to stand at 122.46.

British interest rate futures – All is well in the U.K. today. Stocks are up, the pound is perkier and sterling rate futures indicate that the Bank of England can take a nap for the foreseeable future. Gilt prices fell sharply earlier and the June contract slipped to a low of 113.83 at its worst point of the day. The 10-year yield stands at 4.10% and higher by four basis points on the day. Two weekend polls indicated a widening of the opposition Conservative party’s lead over the government heading in to the summer election.

Australian rate futures –Rising regional equity prices and a jump in commodity prices helped depress interest rate futures. The 10-year Australian government bond yield jumped to reflect losses it missed out on after the U.S. employment report. Yields rose 10 basis points to stand at 5.55%. Meanwhile, ahead of its own labor report later this week, 90-day bills slumped up to 10 basis points.

Japan Government bond yields rose one basis point taking a cue from declining bond prices around the world. Last week’s Nikkei newspaper reported that the Bank of Japan would this week mull any additional measures it could possibly take to help rescue the ailing economy. March JGBs declined just two ticks to close at 140.17.

Andrew Wilkinson is aSenior Market Analyst at Interactive Brokers. ibanalyst@interactivebrokers.com

Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for informational purposes only and is based upon information that is considered to be reliable. However, neither Interactive Brokers LLC nor its affiliates warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither IB nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

About the Author
Andrew Wilkinson

Andrew is a seasoned trader and commentator of global financial markets. He worked for several London-based banks trading cash and derivatives before moving to the U.S. to attend graduate school. Andrew re-joins Interactive Brokers following a two-year stretch at a major Wall Street broker-dealer as their Chief Economic Strategist. His coverage of stocks, options, futures, forex and bonds regularly surfaces in global media, and over the last several years Andrew has made many TV appearances on Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC and BNN and Yahoo Finance.

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