Long-dated Treasury yields climbed on Wednesday as investors monitor efforts to slow down the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. and around the world.
Investor focus remains attuned to signals of an end to the outbreak and subsequent market recovery, leading to some volatile trading on Wall Street. Despite its worst day for deaths since the outbreak began, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the country's hardest-hit state was seeing a slowdown in new hospital admissions.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at the World Health Organization (WHO) for getting "every aspect" of the pandemic wrong and threatened to withdraw funding from the international body.
Meanwhile, Trump defended his weeks spent publicly downplaying the severity of the coronavirus even after it arrived in the U.S., despite dire warnings from global health officials and his own trade advisor, by characterizing himself as a "cheerleader."
The U.S. had confirmed 399,886 cases as of Wednesday morning and 12,907 Americans have lost their lives, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Federal Open Market Committee released minutes Wednesday of its March 15 meeting, during which it lowered its benchmark interest rate to near zero. The minutes reflected central bankers concerned about the impact the coronavirus was having on the economy. "All participants viewed the near-term U.S. economic outlook as having deteriorated sharply in recent weeks and as having become profoundly uncertain," the minutes said.
The central bankers also indicated they will keep interest rates near zero until the economy has "weathered" the coronavirus crisis.
"With regard to monetary policy beyond this meeting, these participants judged that it would be appropriate to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to ¼ percent until policymakers were confident that the economy had weathered recent events and was on track to achieve the Committee's maximum employment and price stability goals," the minutes said.
Auctions will be held Wednesday for $40 billion of 103-day Treasury bills, $45 billion of 40-day bills and $40 billion of 154-day bills, along with $17 billion of 30-year Treasury bonds.