Sunday, 18 February 2024 04:27

Bond Gains Since Fed Pivot Wiped Out

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The rally in bonds since Fed Chair Powell’s pivot at the December FOMC meeting has been fully wiped out following recent economic data and a more hawkish than expected FOMC at the February meeting. 

Over the last month, forecasts for the timing and number of rate cuts in 2024 have been severely curtailed. Entering the year, many were looking for 6 rate cuts with the first one in spring. Now, the consensus forecast is for 3 cuts, starting in July. This is consistent with FOMC members’ dot plot at its last meeting.

The narrative is clearly changing with some chatter that the Fed may not cut at all. Prashant Newnaha, senior rates strategist at TD Securities Inc., noted that “January CPI is a game changer — the narrative that Fed disinflation provided scope for insurance cuts is clearly now on the chopping board. There is now a real risk that price pressures will begin to shift higher. The Fed can’t cut into this. This should provide momentum for further bond declines.”

Given these developments, Amy Xie Patrick, the head of income strategies at Pendal Group, favors corporate credit over Treasuries. She views the strong US economy as providing a tailwind to risky assets, while making Treasuries less attractive. 

Finsum: Bonds have erased their rally following the December FOMC meeting when Chair Powell signaled that rate cuts win 2024. Here are some of the drivers and thoughts from strategists. 

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