Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Watch those long bonds

Long bond futures prices are at an interesting level, at least from a technical perspective. We're testing an uptrend line that dates back to the start of the credit market chaos in mid-2007. How can that be? Isn't the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates?

Well, the Fed cuts have actually been counterproductive when it comes to long-term interest rates. Bond investors are getting increasingly worried that aggressive cuts now will only drive inflation higher later. They're questioning the wisdom of those cuts in the face of $95+ oil (oops, make that $99+), $900+ gold, soaring wheat prices, soaring soybean prices, the biggest rise in import costs in U.S. history, and so on. So they're selling.

That's driving longer-term interest rates up (including those charged on 30-year mortgages). This chart shows the progression of those rates over the past three months. The jump is rather striking.

Update: Long bonds futures held support, finishing the day down 31/32 at 116 1/32. Oil managed to close just above $100, however.


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