Treasury Yields Head To 'Danger Zone': Analyst Forecasts Potential Spike To 5%, Disorderly Sell-Off For Markets

Zinger Key Points
  • 10-year Treasury note yields soar to 4.70%, a peak not seen since Nov 2023, amidst higher inflation and shifting Fed rate cut expectations.
  • Vanguard warns a breach above 4.75% yield could unleash a sell-off, risking a surge to the 5% danger zone in Treasury markets.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note have ascended to a striking 4.70% this month, the highest mark since early November 2023 amid a toxic mix of higher inflation, a stubbornly resilient economy and revised expectations around Federal Reserve rate cuts.

Adding to the unease, Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently indicated the latest economic data does not bolster confidence that inflation will converge towards the Fed’s 2% target soon.

The bond market strain is also reflected in the performance of related instruments, such as the US Treasury 10 Year Note ETF UTEN, which is down by 2.9% for April, making it the most challenging month since September 2023.

Longer-dated Treasury exchange-traded funds (ETFs), such as the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT, fell even more, down 5.6% month to date.

Chart: 10-Year Treasury Yields Eye The 5% Red Line

Analysts Rethink Fed’s Next Moves: Vanguard Issues Warnings When Yields Hit 5%

The landscape of Fed policy expectations is being redrawn by analysts who, until recently, had not anticipated such aggressive shifts in Treasury yields. Few had foreseen yields approaching levels that could destabilize the market.

Yet, Vanguard's head of international rates Ales Koutny offered a stark warning: “We are in a danger zone right now.”


Koutny believed that surpassing the 4.75% yield threshold could trigger a severe sell-off, potentially driving rates to or beyond 5%.

As recently reported by Bloomberg, investors flocked to Treasuries late last year, anticipating a quick easing of Federal Reserve policies. However, resilient economic data from the U.S. has dampened these expectations, turning the tide against market optimists.

Koutny revealed, “We still think that there's a residual long position left over.” The lack of orderly adjustment in these positions could precipitate a chaotic market selloff, risking a yield spike to critical levels.

Despite the prevailing negative market sentiment, the current high yields have attracted some opportunistic buying.

The latest data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. indicates a significant shift in investor positioning towards Treasuries, marking the first net long stance since March.

The robust demand was further evidenced by a successful 20-year Treasury auction, closing at yields slightly lower than anticipated, suggesting underlying market confidence in Treasury securities despite broader concerns.

Read Now: Fund Managers Are The Most Optimistic Since 2022: ‘Bull Sentiment Not Quite At Close-Your-Eyes-And-Sell Levels’

Photo: Shutterstock

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Posted In: Analyst ColorBondsTreasuriesAles KoutnyExpert IdeasInflationInterest RatesStories That Mattervanguard
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