Is it time for a global bond ‘shakeout’?


Bond prices fell across the globe on Monday following last week's surprisingly strong U.S. employment data, sparking analyst speculation over the end of ultra-low yields.

Friday's official nonfarm payrolls report showed that 271,000 U.S. jobs were created in October — the largest monthly gain since December 2014. The unemployment rate fell to 5.0 percent, which was the lowest since April 2008.

The figures are seen as sharply increasing the likelihood that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates from record lows when it meets next month. This would push U.S. Treasury yields higher — and on Monday, bonds around the world fell in anticipation.

The silhouette of a pedestrian is seen walking past the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"At some points over the next 24 months, you'd expect to see some sort of shakeout," Robin Bew, CEO of the Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC on Monday.

"Is it going to be a really violent shakeout? At the moment, we aren't predicting that, I don't think anybody is — that's very difficult to predict."

Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes topped 2.34 percent at one stage on Monday, up from 2.333 percent. Thirty-year Treasury bonds rose to yield 3.0919 percent. (Bond yields move inversely to prices.)

Both "safe haven" and riskier bonds around the world followed a similar trend, although some price falls pared during the session. The yield on 10-year German Bunds, the top choice for risk-averse investors, yields topped 0.72 percent, for instance, before falling back towards 0.69 percent.

Yields on U.K. Gilts and "peripheral" European bonds rose as well.


"FOMC members, who have been encouraging markets to price in a December lift-off, will be encouraged so far. A calm response in Emerging Market foreign exchange however, opens the way for Treasury yields to push higher. A break of 2.35 percent in 10-year Treasurys may see an acceleration to the upside, and the more U.S. yields rise the more the dollar will be supported but equally, the greater the risk of risk aversion returning," Kit Juckes, global fixed income strategist at Societe Generale, said in a research note on Monday.

Following the jobs data, Capital Economics tweaked its end of year forecast for 10-year Treasury notes to 2.5 percent from 2.25 percent.

"The broad-based strength of the U.S. employment report for October has prompted a significant reassessment of the prospects for monetary policy in the U.S. over the next few years, putting upward pressure on Treasury yields in the process. Nonetheless, we think investors are still underestimating the extent to which the federal funds rate will rise over the next couple of years and think the sell-off in the bond market has further to go," Brian Davidson, economist at Capital Economics, said in a report out Friday.

Bew added that any significant move in the world's bond markets would occur after the Fed hiked, not before.

"If we don't see some sort of adjustment in the bond market over the next couple of years, that's telling you something really pretty alarming about the state of the world economy," he told CNBC.

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— By CNBC's Katy Barnato. Follow her on Twitter @KatyBarnato.