Bond markets got sucker-punched today. Traders were on the lookout for Yellen’s comments at a conference in London in the afternoon. Instead it was overnight comments at a conference in Portugal from ECB President Mario Draghi that did the damage. In not so many words, Draghi said
- Things are good in the EU. Recovery is strengthening
- Deflation being replaced by reflation
- Still need accommodation, so we’ll be gradual in adjusting it
Bottom line, this is early-stage taper tantrum talk–EU style. European bonds didn’t like it one bit, with German Bunds rising roughly 13bps. Almost every last bit of upward pressure in US bond markets can thank the Europe for the inspiration. Once European markets closed, US bonds went sideways.
It was clear there was some hesitation ahead of Yellen’s afternoon comments, but once they were deemed innocuous, bonds drifted sideways to slightly stronger, ending the day right in line with the levels seen at the European close. Could this be a game-changer? Tough to say without another day of heavy selling in European bonds. Tomorrow will be critical. Either way, risks are certainly elevated until “game-changer” status can be ruled out.