Last night, when the implied 10Y yield (Japan was closed) dropped to just 1 basis point above 1.40%, we said that we are literally this close from BofA’s “tipping point” for the 10Y Treasury, below which a recession is virtually assured according to the NY Fed’s recession probability indicator, and which also triggers a 12-18 month countdown to 0% rates.
Well, this morning, with risk assets crashing, the yield on the 10Y has sliced below the 1.40% “tipping point” like a hot knife through butter…
… and is now less than 1 basis point away from the all time low of 1.3579% hit on July 8, 2016.
Why does 1.40% matter again?
Because, as we explained yesterday, breaking below this “tipping point” level requires more than 50% probability priced for the Fed cutting rates back to 0%! This means that breaking 1.4% in an on-hold context for the Fed creates a significant inversion of the curve, pushes recession signals higher, and pressures a further inversion of the FF1/FF6 spread which we found in Pricing cuts ahead of the Fed to have no false positives for Fed cuts following a -30bp inversion (currently -16bp).
What this means in practical terms from a duration perspective is that “the market may gap lower on a break below 1.4% for the 10Y Treasury”, as this corresponds to phase transition higher in recession probabilities and a clear challenge to the on-hold Fed stance, “particularly as convexity flows add to what would likely be a broader risk-off move. “
Finally, while the threshold for cuts is high – especially if a slowdown is driven by pandemic fears – and considering the Fed’s recent rhetoric which has sought to allay expectations of a rate cut as soon as June, once the Fed commits to cuts, BofA finds it unlikely that they will be the insurance style of 2019, and instead the Fed will proceed to cut all the way to zero to avert the coming recession. For the curve, this implies some scope for further bull flattening, but limited beyond 1.4% in the 10Y, as the Fed is likely to be more significantly priced in beyond this level.
And with the 10Y now at 1.3655%, this means that trapdoors to both a recession and the Zero Lower Bound – if not outright negative rates – are now open.