BlackRock’s Rieder said yield curve not signaling recession this time

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While he doesn’t see a recession, Rieder said, however, that could change if the U.S. truce with China ends with a renewed trade war with more tariffs.

“It would have an impact on growth and inflation. It’s easy to see what it means for risk assets. They’ll come under pressure. For rates, it’s more ambiguous. It’s going to pressure and lower growth. It will create a flight to quality….Ultimately, I think it will slow growth more than it will cause inflation,” he said.

Rieder said there are signs inflation is slowing, and it should continue to slow over the next couple of months, in part because of the drop in oil prices.

“Part of why the softness has been over the last few months is companies pulling back that are concerned about capital expenditures. You’ve seen it…particularly in Europe, where the German auto data was horrendous. If you take off the risk of significant tariffs, sentiment will improve, and that’s why I t hinkt he economy will be fine, if you get some form of tangible agreement on trade,” he said.

The slowing economy, and lower rates for longer duration Treasurys, should help bring down mortgage rates. Rieder said mortgage rates have probably seen their highs and could move lower. The 30-year fixed rate rose above 5 percent briefly this fall, and have been just under that level. They are now about 4.82 percent.

Mortgages, and other consumer and business loans are closely linked to the bench mark 10-year Treasury yield. The 10-year yield was at about 2.91 percent Tuesday. Yields move opposite price.

“I don’t think rates are going to move dramatically from where they are unless the economy slows significantly from here…but I could see the 10-year being in a range of 2.75 to 3.25 percent,” Rieder said. “I think people are worried that growth falls faster.”

Rieder said the U.S. economy is durable. “We’re going to a 3.3 percent unemployment rate or maybe even lower than that. It’s pretty hard to go into a recession if unemployment is going to reach 3 percent,” he said.

Rieder has been expecting the Fed to pause in its rate hiking, some time next year, after it hikes rates in December. He expects a hike in December and one more next year, though the Fed has forecast a rate hike in December and three more next year. He said if the Fed does not pause, the markets will run into trouble.

The 2-year Treasury Tuesday was yielding about 2.81 percent, and the 5-year was at 2.79 percent. The bond and stock markets were closed Wednesday, due to the national day of mourning for President George H.W. Bush. Stock futures were firmer in the early Wednesday session, after Tuesday’s sell off that sent the Dow down 799 points.

2018-12-06 12:18:00

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