Treasury yields fell on Thursday after global central banks took further steps to ease financial conditions to help countries counter the coronavirus damage.
The rise in rates came after more intervention from global central banks to keep borrowing cost in check as countries get ready to ramp up spending to offset coronavirus impact. The European Central Bank (ECB) late on Wednesday announced a new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program that will deploy €750 billion ($819 billion) to purchase securities to help support the European economy.
"The ECB will ensure that all sectors of the economy can benefit from supportive financing conditions that enable them to absorb this shock," the central bank said in a release. "This applies equally to families, firms, banks, and governments. The Governing Council will do everything necessary within its mandate."
The ECB's move followed the Federal Reserve's plans to pump an additional $1 trillion into the U.S. economy through asset purchases and cut the federal funds rate to zero. The Fed also said Wednesday night it will create a backstop for prime money market funds.
The Bank of England on Thursday announced additional action, including an interest rate cut and bond-buying program. 0The central bank slashed rates by 15 basis points to 0.1%, and said it will increase its holdings of UK government bonds and sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bonds by £200 billion to a total of £645 billion.
On this fiscal front, the U.S. Senate passed a bill on Wednesday providing billions of dollars to supply free testing, paid sick leave and expanded safety-net spending in a bid to cushion the economic blow to Americans from the pandemic.
Data out Thursday showed weekly jobless claims were higher than expected. U.S. jobless claims rose 70,000 to reach 281,000 for the week ending March 14. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected a reading of 220,000. Companies have just started what is expected to be an aggressive round of layoffs due to the slump in demand that the virus is causing.
Auctions will be held Thursday for $50 billion of 4-week Treasury bills, $40 billion of 8-week bills and $12 billion of 10-year TIPS.
- CNBC's Thomas Franck contributed to this report.