With yields on the 10-year Treasury briefly above 5%, many investors are considering whether this is the time to lock in long-term Treasury ETF exposure. Entering 2023, this was the consensus trade as many expected a slowing economy would erode inflationary pressures and compel the Fed to start cutting rates. Instead, long-duration Treasuries have seen another year of losses as the economy and inflation remained more durable than expected, and the Fed has continued to hike rates.
YTD, the iShares Treasury Bond 20+ Yr ETF (TLT) is down 13%, while the short-duration focused iShares Treasury Bond 0-1 Yr ETF (SGOV) is slightly up on the year. However, the case for long-duration Treasuries is even stronger than at the start of the year, and investors should consider taking advantage of the weakness.
The Federal Reserve has been increasingly dovish in the face of soft economic data and has already signaled that it will hold off on hikes at its next meeting. There is no longer inversion between the 2Y and 10Y which has generally been a reliable indicator of a recession. Weakness in regional banks and a spike in auto loan delinquencies also are indicative of the economy weakening which would also lead to more dovish policy from the Fed and relief for long-duration Treasury ETFs.
Finsum: Fixed income inflows have been strong all year despite considerable volatility and uncertainty about the economy and Fed.Long-duration Treasuries have floundered so far this year, but here are some reasons why investors should consider buying the dip.