Perspectives Blog

U.S. rates – An intriguing six point three

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | June 9, 2014

Fed and consensus unemployment forecasts are likely to come down after last week’s jobs report. It is not obvious what lower unemployment rate forecasts mean for U.S. monetary policy. June FOMC meeting should shed light on Fed’s worldview—in particular, whether the U3 unemployment rate still matters. The latest jobs report may look pretty bland on the surface, but I can assure you that it will generate plenty of intrigue among close observers…

U.S. rates – Headwinds

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | March 17, 2014

At this week’s meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee looks likely to rework its forward guidance for short-term interest rates once again. We expect revised forward guidance to lean heavily on the idea of “headwinds”; this is a stand-in term for a low equilibrium real rate. We expect that the new guidance will make three main points: (1) that the FOMC is in no hurry to raise rates, (2) that rate hikes can proceed gradually once…

Volatility and Goodhart’s Law

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | May 21, 2014

Markets are starting to make understandable inference that Fed officials see a fixed timeline for rate hikes. Implied volatility is low because perceived policy uncertainty is low. We remain focused on modest slack and sturdy growth. Recent Fed communication brings to mind Goodhart’s Law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” In a speech Tuesday, New York Fed President Dudley noted that Eurodollar futures are prici…

U.S. rates — Data dependence

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | June 23, 2014

Evidence of data dependency at the June FOMC meeting suggests policy will respond to unemployment and inflation surprises. We are more confident the Fed’s reaction function is (nearly) done moving. We therefore remain cautious about exposure to U.S. interest rate risk, especially at the middle of the yield curve. The June FOMC meeting contained a little bit for everyone and interest rates reacted only marginally after the announcements. But lo…

Dovish feathers showing through

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | April 14, 2014

Dovish comments by Fed officials lead us to believe that normalization in interest rates could take a more circuitous route. While the steady economic recovery makes higher yields inevitable, the path we take to get there is dependent on the Yellen Fed’s policy approach. We remain underweight duration, but are now less sure 3-5yr yields will lead the way over the near-term. Textbooks would have us believe that monetary policy is a hard science…

U.S. rates — View update

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | April 4, 2014

Compared to the market consensus, our views have been more negative on three key duration fundamentals. Following recent remarks by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, we are now less confident about how to read Yellen’s policy strategy. We are still expecting higher rates; however, we now have less conviction that 3-5yr Treasuries will continue to underperform on the curve. For the last couple of months we have argued that portfolios should remain underw…

U.S. rates – Forward guidance taxonomy

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | March 17, 2014

The Fed’s communication for 2014 looks like the strongest type of forward guidance, one that clarifies the existing policy approach and backs up statements with some type of commitment. Current statements for 2015 and beyond are closer to the weakest type of forward guidance, a forecast that the central bank will behave in the future differently than it has behaved in the past. Look for the market’s heavy reliance on the SEP forecasts to fade o…