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Conflict Of Interest (rates): 10-year Treasury Yield Highest in Almost Two Years

The dollar was high and going higher. Emerging markets had been seriously complaining. In one, the top central banker for India outright warned, “dollar funding has evaporated.” The TIC data supported his view, with full-blown negative months, net…



The dollar was high and going higher. Emerging markets had been seriously complaining. In one, the top central banker for India outright warned, “dollar funding has evaporated.” The TIC data supported his view, with full-blown negative months, net selling from afar that’s historically akin to what was coming out of India and the rest of the world. China was cutting its RRR multiple times.

This was all following May 29, 2018, too, a day in the global “bond market” which had left no doubt collateral conditions had already become seriously strained; the monetary tightening exclamation point on all of the above.

Clear dollar shortage stuff, one after another after another. And since the “bond market” and US Treasuries are at the center of it all, or closest viewpoint from which to peer inside the vast monetary shadows, LT UST yields of course…rose?


Yeah, they did. Not only that, after having reached a high on May 17, the 10-year would climb further to its highest in seven years by early October. You might remember those days, it was in all the newspapers, splashed across the internet in every form of its mediums.



The bond bull was immediately declared deader than a doornail, done, fork stuck already in what was reported as its rotting carcass stinking up the place. Inflation had killed it off, too, they said. Get used to much, much higher rates because this sucker, Jay’s economy was absolutely roaring.

Obviously, none of it was true; not the bond “bull” bull, nor all the scattershot analysis thrown around, including a whole library of the same such commentary beyond the tiny sample reproduced (easily) above.

Barely over a month later, it all went downhill – literally, in the case of bond yields as well as the global economy.

So what did happen in 2018? How can bond yields still go up despite all those nasty things listed at the outset? And what might that episode three years ago tell us about our current markets and global situation?

First, always remember yield curve dynamics; the Treasury curve, like any other, isn’t monolithic. There are parts, and each piece is oftentimes influenced by separate factors. If you haven’t already, this is a good place to start for these basics.

In addition to nominal yields and the curve level, you always, always need to pay close attention to the shape – on the whole as well as in discrete parts – and how the profile changes over time. This is a dynamic monetary/financial/economic universe, and the curve distorts with meaning and purpose hardly anyone nowadays seems able to properly decode.

Though they are related, and do share some common factors, the balance of those can be quite different such that there are almost two curves operating simultaneously. The one at the front is most heavily inclined by monetary alternatives, and that money-like influence continues out into the middle of the notes – up to around the 5-year maturity (for a more detailed and complete description of these inner workings, click on the link above).

From the 7-year note on out to the long bond end, this is Irving Fisher’s territory, the land of inflation and growth expectations as only somewhat predisposed by the cross-currents and perceptions of those front-end conditions.

When there are times the Treasury curve really does act like two Treasury curves, the boundary falls somewhere in that 5-year to 10-year No Man’s Land (this is why, of all the curve’s calendar spreads, I always start with the 5s10s because it crosses this border and sends us absolutely clear and powerful signals about this front vs. back relationship).

What was happening throughout 2018 was the yield curve splitting in two. On the one side, up front, the Fed and its federal funds target along with the various reserve programs (RRP, IOER) offering money alternatives via that set of policies. According to Janet Yellen then Jay Powell’s FOMC, they believed like all the media articles above the country was about to get itself into inflationary trouble.

It was becoming too good, they reasoned.

To head off that “danger”, rate hikes (as well as QT, but that’s a somewhat related tangent not necessary to go over today). For the Treasury curve, it would mean upward nominal pressure from below, from the shortest run.

While all that was taking place in the short curve, the long end outright resisted the pressure even as yields here moved up, too. That was the back end squeeze, or flattening, competing narratives being played out in the whole curve’s shape. The overall shape flattened even as rates front to back rose because, Irving Fisher, growth and inflation expectations beyond any temporary short run Fed influence were not matching up with the Fed’s projections for those rate hikes.

This is where all those dollar shortage factors I cited at the outset had come into play. The more 2018 passed, the more doubts about longer run inflation and growth grew as signals of deflationary potential continued to come one after another. However, the process of sorting those competing probabilities took time; it was only over much time that the spectrum of possibilities began to more completely favor the long end’s pessimism.

This had meant up to October and early November 2018, the yield curve would rise in nominal level while at the same time flattening dramatically. The future before that point was still undecided as to which curve, front or back, would win out.

Right here is where the landmine comes into it, thus why I place so much emphasis on it. Time after time, the landmine has proved to be the moment when these conflicting viewpoints get settled. To date, they’ve always been settled to the long end’s doubts (which simply means long end doubts about deflationary risk and potential become just deflation).

After that point, the whole thing is united once again as it collapses even up in the front (December 2018’s inversion).

While everyone was told to focus exclusively on the highest-in-seven-years nominal 10s UST back in October and November 2018, that hadn’t actually meant anything useful or relevant; instead, the flat shape of the curve should’ve been everyone’s focus as it was those doubts even as interest rates rose and Powell’s hawks went unchallenged everywhere outside the yield curves second (back) half.

And they quickly melted away by the middle of November 2018 to leave everyone stunned; the bond “bull” very much alive and wreaking havoc yet again in Jay Powell’s expensive China shop, shelves overloaded with expensive media hot takes easily kicked over and trampled into forgettable dust.

You have probably heard that today, January 7, December’s Payroll Friday, the UST 10s closed up trading at 1.76%, the highest yield in nearly two years!! The media is again ablaze with BOND ROUT!!!!!, the new high being heralded as the latest definitive sign of the bond market giving up and coming around to the inflation-red-hot-economy Jay Powell’s FOMC is once again using to justify its hawkishness.

Like 2018, however, the yield curve has become similarly split and for all the same reasons. Over the past few weeks, the front end (out to the 5s) has been influenced by first the hawkish resolve (lots of rate hikes are coming!) before more recently having judged the omicron scare as little more than overkill.

Powell has previously emphasized how the pandemic would be the one factor which could derail his taper/rate hike plans. With omicron appearing less and less of a stumbling block, the Fed’s temporary influence has taken over the short end, the road clear for rate hike liftoff maybe even by March.

This has similarly extended into the long end in that same 2018 way, to the point today the 10-year yield traded higher than its March 2021 peak. Upward pressure from underneath as the Treasury market doesn’t see anything right now, nothing tangible or immediate which over the short run might have a high probability of stopping the FOMC.

This despite again all those dollar shortage warning signs as stated in the opening paragraph. The flat curve, however, shows that those are still being taken seriously even as LT rates trend moderately higher.

Powell’s economic optimism, if you want to call it that since much of it derives from the unemployment rate and wage data, has been traded more forthrightly into the front with omicron fears fading. This translates into these modestly higher nominal levels but not a steeper shape. 

It leaves us once more with these conflicting views meeting somewhere in the middle. 

With no 2021 or yet 2022 landmine, the yield curve is actually two curves again waiting for this clash or conflict of interest rates (thanks Mr. Tateo for suggesting this title) to be settled one way or the other. Balance of probabilities in the front are more favorable, yet still so much unappreciated negative potential keeps a lid on it at the back. 

There are other parts of the bond market equation to consider, as there had been three years ago, but I’ll save the similar move in TIPS real yields for next week. The eurodollar futures curve, still kinked but now un-inverted, I’ll also leave as a cliffhanger, too.

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Stock Market Today: Stocks turn lower as Treasury yield rise mutes earnings gains

A mixed set of big tech earnings, alongside modestly higher Treasury yields, has stocks moving lower into the start of the Wednesday session.



Updated at 10:07 am EDT U.S. turned lower Wednesday, while Treasury yields crept higher and the dollar building gains against its global peers as investors reacted to the first wave of mega-cap tech earnings while continuing to track movements in the bond market. Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report and Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report kicked-off this week's run of earnings from the so-called 'magnificent seven' late Tuesday with a mixed set of September quarter results, reflecting both the power for AI technologies to boost near-term profits and the impact of surging interest rates on corporate spending. Microsoft's revenue growth in cloud computing, driven in part by its early investments in AI, lifted shares in the tech giant firmly higher in pre-market trading as it looks to add around 85 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the opening bell. Google, meanwhile, slumped 6.6% following a mixed set of third quarter earnings that showed slowing cloud computing growth overshadowing record ad revenues of $59.65 billion. Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms  (META) - Get Free Report posts its third quarter earnings after the bell later today, with magnificent seven stalwart Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report following on Thursday. In the bond market, a muted auction of $51 billion in 2-year notes yesterday, which drew softer demand from both foreign and domestic investors, drew a line under the recent Treasury market rally, which was also tested by a faster-than-expected reading for business activity by S&P Global over the month of October. Benchmark 10-year notes yields were last marked 5 basis points higher in the early New York trading at 4.901% while 2-year notes were pegged at 5.091%, 3 basis points higher than yesterday's auction levels, ahead of a $52 billion sale of 5-year notes later in the session. The U.S. dollar index, meanwhile, was marked 0.14% higher against a basket of six global currency peers and trading at 106.41 heading into the morning session. In other markets, global oil prices drifted modestly higher in early New York trading ahead of Energy Department data on domestic stockpiles and international exports later this morning. Brent crude contracts for December delivery were marked 23 cents higher at $88.31 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month edged 13 cents higher to $83.87 per barrel. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was marked 42 points lower, or 0.99%, in the opening hour of trading while the Dow was down 133 points despite the impact of Microsoft's advance. The tech-focused Nasdaq, meanwhile, was down 186 points, or 1.43%, as the slump in Google shares offset a smaller gain for Microsoft. In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 was marked 0.28% higher in late-day Frankfurt trading amid another busy earnings session while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.02% lower in London. Overnight in Asia, reports of a new trillion-yuan bond sale from the Chinese government, worth around $137 billion in U.S. dollar terms and aimed at adding further stimulus to the moribund economy, boosted sentiment and helped regional stocks eek out a modest 0.09% gain heading into the close of trading.
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People in Europe ate seaweed for thousands of years before it largely disappeared from their diets – we wonder why?

The decline of seaweed as part of the staple diet in Europe remains a mystery.



Seaweed isn’t something that generally features today in European recipe books, even though it is widely eaten in Asia. But our team has discovered molecular evidence that shows this wasn’t always the case. People in Europe ate seaweed and freshwater aquatic plants from the Stone Age right up until the Middle Ages before it disappeared from our plates. Our evidence came from skeletal remains, namely the calculus (hardened dental plaque) that built up around the teeth of these people when they were alive. Many centuries later, this calculus still contains molecules that record the food that people ingested. We analysed the calculus from 74 skeletal remains from 28 archaeological sites across Europe. The sites span a period of several thousand years starting in the Mesolithic, when people hunted and gathered their food, through to the earliest farming societies (a stage called the Neolithic) all the way up to the Middle Ages. Our results suggest that seaweed was a habitual part of the diet for the time periods we studied, and became a marginal food only relatively recently. Unsurprisingly, most of the sites where we detected the consumption of seaweed are coastal. But we also found evidence from inland sites that people were ingesting freshwater aquatic plants, including lilies and pondweed. We also found an example of people consuming sea kale.

How are we sure people ate seaweed?

We identified several types of molecules in the dental calculus that collectively are characteristic of seaweed. We refer to these as “biomarkers”. They include a set of chemical compounds called alkylpyrroles. When we detect these compounds together in calculus, we can be fairly sure where they came from. The same goes for other compounds characteristic of seaweed and freshwater plants. To have become embedded in dental calculus, the seaweed and freshwater plants had to have been in the mouth and most probably chewed. Biomarkers do not survive in all our samples, but where they do, they’re found consistently across many individuals we analysed from different places. This suggests seaweed was probably a routine part of the diet.

Perceptions of seaweed

Today, seaweed is often seen as the scourge of beaches. It accumulates at the high-water mark where it can create a slippery and sometimes smelly barrier to the sea. But it is a wondrous world of its own. There are over 10,000 species of seaweed worldwide living in the intertidal zone (where the ocean meets the land between high and low tides) and the subtidal zone (a region below the intertidal zone that is continuously covered by water). Around 145 of these species are eaten today and in parts of Asia it is commonplace. Seaweed is edible, nutritious, sometimes medicinal, abundant and local. Although overconsumption can cause iodine toxicity, there are no poisonous intertidal species in Europe. It is also available all year round, which would have been particularly useful in the past, when food supplies were less reliable.

Reconstructing ancient diets

Reconstructing ancient diets is challenging and is generally more difficult as you go back in time. This helps explain why we’ve only just realised how much seaweed was being eaten by ancient Europeans. In archaeology, evidence for ancient diets often comes from physical remains: animal bones, fish bones and the hard parts of shellfish. Evidence for plants as part of the diet before farming, however, is rare. Techniques to study molecules from archaeological remains have been around for some time. A key method is known as carbon/nitrogen (C and N) stable isotope analysis. This is widely used to reconstruct ancient human and animal diets based on the relative proportions of these elements in bone collagen. But the presence of plants has been difficult to identify, due to their low nitrogen content. Their presence is masked by an overwhelming signal for animals and fish.

Hiding in plain sight

The evidence for seaweed had been present all along, but unrecognised. Our discovery provides a perfect example of how perceptions of what we regard as food influence interpretations of ancient practices. Seaweed was detected in chunks that had been chewed (and presumably spat out) at the 12,000-year-old site of Monte Verde, Chile. But when it is found at archaeological sites, it is more commonly interpreted as having been used for things other than food, such as fuel and food wrappings. In European archaeology, there is a longstanding perception that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers ate lots of seafood, but that when people started farming, they focused on food sourced from land, such as their livestock. Our findings hammer another nail into the coffin of this theory. Today, only a few traditional recipes remain, such as laverbread made from the seaweed species Porphyra umbilicalis in Wales. It’s still not clear why seaweed declined as a staple source of food in Europe after the Middle Ages.

What are the implications?

Our unexpected discovery changes the way we understand past people. It also alters our perceptions of how they understood the landscape and how they exploited local resources. It suggests, not for the first time, that we vastly underestimate ancient people. They had a knowledge, particularly about the natural world, that is difficult for us to imagine today. The finding also reminds us that archaeological remains are minute windows into the past, reinforcing the care required when developing theories based on limited evidence. The consumption of plants, upon which our world depends, has been habitually left out of dietary theories from our pre-agrarian past. Rigid theories have sometimes forgotten that humans were behind these archaeological cultures – and that they were probably similar to us in their curiosity and needs. Today seaweed sits, largely unused as food, on our doorstep. Making the edible species a bigger component of our diets could even contribute to making our food supplies more sustainable. The Conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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EUR/AUD bearish breakdown supported by additional China fiscal stimulus and AU inflation

Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent…



  • Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent bearish sentiment loop in EUR/AUD.
  • Watch the key short-term resistance at 1.6700 for EUR/AUD.
  • A break below 1.6250 key medium-term support on the EUR/AUD may trigger a multi-week bearish impulsive down move.

The Euro (EUR) tumbled overnight throughout the US session as it erased its prior gains against the US dollar recorded on Monday, 23 October; the EUR/USD shed -104 pips from yesterday’s intraday high of 1.0695 to close the US session at 1.0591, its weakest performance in the past seven sessions.

Yesterday’s resurgence of the USD dollar strength has been attributed to a robust set of October flash manufacturing and services PMI data from the US in contrast with weak readings seen in the UK and Eurozone that represented stagflation risks.

Interestingly, the Aussie dollar (AUD) has outperformed the US dollar where the AUD/USD managed to squeeze out a minor daily gain of 21 pips by the close of yesterday’s US session. The resilient movement of the AUD/USD has been impacted by positive news flow out from China, Australia’s key trading partner.

China’s national legislature has just approved a budgetary plan to raise the fiscal deficit ratio for 2023 to around 3.8% of its GDP which was above the initial 3% set in March and set to issue additional sovereign debt worth 1 trillion yuan in Q4. This latest round of additional fiscal stimulus suggests that China’s top policymakers are expanding their initial targeted measures to address the ongoing severe liquidity crunch in the domestic property market as well as to reverse the persistent weak sentiment inherent in the stock market.

In addition, the latest set of Australia’s inflation data surpassed expectations has also reinforced another layer of positive feedback loop in the Aussie dollar which in turn may put Australia’s central bank, RBA on a “hawkish guard” against cutting its policy cash rate too soon.

The less lagging monthly CPI Indicator has risen to an annualized rate of 5.6% in September, above consensus estimates of 5.4%, and surpassed August’s reading of 5.2% which has translated into a second consecutive month of uptick in inflationary growth.

In the lens of technical analysis, a potential bearish configuration setup has emerged in the EUR/AUD cross pair from a short to medium-term perspective.

Major uptrend phase of EUR/AUD is weakening


Fig 1: EUR/AUD medium-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

Even though the price actions of the EUR/AUD have been oscillating within a major ascending channel since its 25 August 2023 low of 1.4285 and traded above the key 200-day moving average so far, the momentum of this up movement is showing signs of bullish exhaustion.

Yesterday (24 October) price action ended with a daily bearish reversal “Marubozu” candlestick coupled with the daily RSI momentum indicator that retreated right at a significant parallel resistance in place since March 2023 at the 65 level which suggests a revival of medium-term bearish momentum.

EUR/AUD bears are now attacking the minor ascending support

Fig 2: EUR/AUD minor short-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

The EUR/AUD has now staged a bearish price action follow-through via the breakdown of its minor ascending support from its 29 September 2023 low after a momentum bearish breakdown that was flashed earlier yesterday (24 October) during the European session as seen from the 4-hour RSI momentum indicator.

Watch the 1.6700 key short-term pivotal resistance (also the 50-day moving average) for a further potential slide toward the intermediate supports of 1.6460 and 1.6320 in the first step.

On the other hand, a clearance above 1.6700 invalidates the bearish tone to see the next intermediate resistance coming in at 1.6890.

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