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This dual threat has been moderated for many years now as global. policy has created a unique environment for bond investors to evaluate. Namely a flattening yield curve, whereby the 2-year U.S..
Yield curves were on a flattening. purchases are not distorting yields. Canada is a case in point. Traditionally, Canadian 5-year yields will import about two-thirds of any movement in US 5-year.
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The underlying concept of a flattening yield curve is pretty straightforward. The yield curve flattens-that is, it appears less steep-when the difference between yields on short-term bonds and yields on long-term bonds decreases. Here’s an example.
The yield curve is a graph that shows, at any given time, how the yield varies with the period for which the yield holds. A flat yield curve means that yields on long-term bonds are not much higher than those on short-term notes. Bond markets affect mortgage markets, and vice versa, because a large part of all new mortgages are converted into.
So neither Fitch nor Yellen see the flattening yield curve as an ominous sign of anything other than exasperated NIRP refugees looking for a somewhat less gruesome alternative. And folks hoping the Fed will use the flattening yield curve as an excuse to back off from further rate hikes will likely be disappointed.
In fact, we found that the S&P 500 has gained 12.3% on average when the yield curve was flattening compared with a 7.9% gain when the yield curve was steepening for all periods since 1980.
The yield curve started to flatten ahead of schedule, at a time when rates were still falling rather than rising. Not only that, instead of a typical "bearish flattening" from a larger rise in short-term rates (and a more bearish outlook for short-term bonds), what we saw was a "bullish flattening" driven Sep by declining long-term rates.
A flattening curve has often been a signal of slower growth ahead. More worrisome has been an inverted curve, where short-term rates are higher than long-term, which has preceded every post-World War II recession. The curve’s predictive value, however, is not perfect, with occasional false positive signals for both flat and steep curves.