US Treasury yields move higher after Powell comments

U.S. government debt yields were slightly higher Monday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell described the U.S. economy as healthy and downplayed questions that President Donald Trump could remove him from office. 

The leader of the U.S. central bank said that he believes President Donald Trump cannot fire him despite any frustration the White House may have with higher borrowing costs.

"The law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it," Powell told the news magazine show. Asked directly if he thought Trump could fire him, he said, "no."

Powell added that he thinks the economy looks strong and he and his colleagues at the Fed will be making future policy decisions based on the available data. "I would say there's no reason why this economy cannot continue to expand," he said.

At 9:07 a.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to price, was higher at around 2.637 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also higher at 3.025 percent.


Last week, data showed the world's largest economy added just 20,000 jobs in February versus an expected gain of 180,000 — marking the weakest month of jobs creation since September 2017.

The data come amid growing concern about the global economy. Data out of China last week showed its exports slumped 20.7 percent from a year earlier, far below analyst expectations and wiping out a surprise jump in January.

The U.S. Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales surprisingly rose in January thanks to an increase in purchases of building materials and discretionary spending. Those gains were offset, however, after data for December was revised downward to show retail sales dropping 1.6 percent instead of the 1.2 percent loss previously reported.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rebounded 1.1 percent in January after a revised 2.3 percent plunge in December.

Also on Monday, the Treasury is set to auction $48 billion worth of 13-week notes, $39 billion worth of 26-week notes and $38 billion worth of three-year notes.

—CNBC's Spriha Srivastava and Matt Clinch contributed to this article.