The last FOMC meeting saw the Fed put a pause on hikes. Recent economic data, specifically softer inflation prints, is also supporting the notion that the Fed’s next move will be to cut rather than hike. Adding fuel to the rally was comments from Fed governor Christopher Waller that Fed policy was ‘well-positioned’ to bring inflation back down to its desired level. Waller’s concession is noteworthy given that he has been among the most hawkish FOMC members.
It’s already resulted in longer-term yields dropping, as the 10-year yield has declined from 5% in mid-October to 4.3%. As a result, equities have surged higher, and bonds posted their best monthly performance in nearly 40 years. The Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index was up nearly 5% in November. This performance is likely to attract inflows especially as bonds will further strengthen if the economy does fall into a recession.
With these gains, the asset class is now slightly positive on a YTD basis. Many investors may also be eager to lock in these rates especially as the ‘higher for longer’ narrative around interest rates seems to be passing. There’s also increasing chatter of a rate cut as soon as spring of next year, while the odds of another hike have diminished.
Finsum: Bonds enjoyed a strong rally in November. Some of the major factors behind this strength were dovish comments from FOMC members, soft inflation data, and the Fed nearing the end of its hiking cycle.