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The vice chair of the Fed says if the yield curve inverts, he would take it 'seriously'

Key Points
  • If the yield curve inverts as it has ... and if it persists for some time, that's obviously something I would definitely take seriously, " Clarida says.
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is now below that of the 3-month bill, inverting part of the so-called yield curve.
  • An inverted yield curve is seen by experts as a sign that an economic recession may be on the horizon.
Richard Clarida
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Tuesday that he would take the inverted yield curve "seriously" if it "persists for some time."

"I do think you have to look at the yield curve. I think historically a flat yield curve doesn't convey a lot of information. If the yield curve inverts as it has ... and if it persists for some time, that's obviously something I would definitely take seriously," Clarida said in an interview with CNBC's Steve Liesman on Tuesday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is now below that of the 3-month bill, inverting part of the so-called yield curve. An inverted yield curve is seen by experts and the Fed as a sign that an economic recession may be on the horizon.

Clarida didn't clarify how long the yield curve would have to stay inverted for him to take it seriously.

"I would not view this as a strong signal of concern. We are early into it. It's certainly something we'll keep looking at," he said.

The benchmark Treasury yield continued to collapse on concerns about slowing global growth and the escalated trade war. It has fallen 7 basis points to 2.067% this week, its lowest level in about 20 months.

Clarida also said Tuesday that the central bank will implement policy to keep the economy in a good place if conditions change.