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TREASURIES-U.S. 2-year yield scales 19-month high peak, curve flattens

·4 min read

* U.S. 5/30 yield curve flattest since April 2020 * U.S. 2/10 yield spread narrowest in five weeks * Focus on U.S. 5-year note auction (Adds comment, auction outlook, Treasury table, updates prices) By Sujata Rao and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss LONDON/NEW YORK, Oct 27 (Reuters) - U.S. 2-year Treasury yields rose further on Wednesday, hitting new 19-month highs and flattening the yield curve, as the possible timing of the Federal Reserve's first interest rate rise came into tighter focus. In the run-up to the Fed's policy meeting next week, market focus has moved beyond pricing the central bank's likely taper of asset purchases and onto the timing of the first rate rise since December 2018. Rising oil prices and inflation expectations have fed into that pricing, even though Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last week it wasn't time to raise rates just yet. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, on the other hand, signalled last week that the BoE would act to curb inflation expectations. Futures markets now fully price in a 15 basis point BoE rate hike on Nov. 4 and another 25 basis point move in December. "The BoE has people questioning if the Fed can really hold off that long especially with the inflation backdrop that we have and the continued supply chain pressures," said Zachary Griffith, macro strategist at Wells Fargo. "I think that's what making people re-assess what's realistic and how committed the Fed can be to its average inflation targeting that is kind of untested," he added. The Fed is widely expected to begin tapering its $120 billion in monthly purchases of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities next month, but Fed funds futures already priced a 70% chance of a June rate hike on Tuesday. U.S. 2-year yields spiked to 0.511%, the highest since March 2020, and was last at 0.5108%, up 3 basis points. The 5-year yield -- another segment of the curve that's also sensitive to interest rate expectations -- was last up 3 basis points at 1.2094%. It hit 1.2520% on Monday, the highest since February 2020. U.S. 10-year yields dropped to a two-week low of 1.564%. They were last down at 1.5887%. That, in turn, narrowed the spread between the 2- and 10-year yields to 107.90 basis points, the flattest in over a month. The spread between U.S. 5-year notes and 30-year bonds narrowed to as low as 82 basis points, the tightest gap since April 2020. Later in the session, the Treasury auctions $61 billion in 5-year notes. BMO Capital Markets said in a research paper that the note should attract strong demand after a well-received 2-year note auction on Tuesday. But the bank said next week's Fed meeting and the announcement of tapering carries some risk of a more aggressive normalization timeline. "With lift-off timing and rate hike pace being actively debated, we are certainly sympathetic to some reluctance to add exposure to the belly at this point in the monetary policy cycle," BMO added. The U.S. 5-year inflation breakeven rate, which reflects market-based inflation expectations over the next five years, hit north of 3%,, the highest since at least January 2004. Ten-year breakevens were at the highest since May 2006 . October 27 Wednesday 10:23AM New York / 1423 GMT Price Current Net Yield % Change (bps) Three-month bills 0.055 0.0558 0.000 Six-month bills 0.06 0.0609 -0.002 Two-year note 99-186/256 0.5128 0.029 Three-year note 99-122/256 0.804 0.040 Five-year note 98-118/256 1.1978 0.017 Seven-year note 98-172/256 1.4523 -0.007 10-year note 96-240/256 1.5887 -0.029 20-year bond 96-36/256 1.9867 -0.044 30-year bond 99-228/256 2.0048 -0.046 DOLLAR SWAP SPREADS Last (bps) Net Change (bps) U.S. 2-year dollar swap 15.00 -2.25 spread U.S. 3-year dollar swap 15.75 0.00 spread U.S. 5-year dollar swap 8.25 -0.50 spread U.S. 10-year dollar swap 2.25 -0.75 spread U.S. 30-year dollar swap -19.75 -0.50 spread (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Sujaya Rao in London; Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook and Vidya Ranganathan in Singapore)

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