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The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond came within a basis point of its all-time low amid growing concern about the global economic fallout of the coronavirus epidemic.
Yields fell as much as 5 basis points to 1.9107% on Friday as the outbreakaccelerated outside China, with South Korea reporting a surge in infections. That’s close to the all-time nadir of 1.9039%. The yield on the long-dated bonds has fallen close to half a percentage point so far in 2020. Treasury notes and bonds rallied across the spectrum, with the 10-year reaching as low as 1.47% as the curve flattened.
“The coronavirus appears to be the primary driver here in the short term in a world where demand for duration is already high,” said Timothy High, a strategist at BNP Paribas. “There is considerable uncertainty as to how quickly the Chinese economy will ultimately recover from this tragedy and if the virus will spread around the world.”
TheAugust rally in Treasuries was fueled by recession fears, U.S.-China trade tensions and sliding yields in Europe. The 30-year yield subsequently rebounded to as high as 2.44% in November.
Yields resumed their slide in January, fueled mainly by the spread of coronavirus in and beyond China, where it affected the celebration of the Lunar New Year holiday. It gainedmomentum following the Jan. 29 Federal Reserve decision, when Chairman Jerome Powell said policy makers are uncomfortable with inflation below the central bank’s 2% target, and stalled briefly in early February as U.S. equity benchmarks recovered and reached new records.
The epidemic in China has been tentatively contained but hasn’t reached a turning point yet, according to China Central Television, which cited a politburo meeting. Infections in China topped 75,000. South Korea reported 48 more cases, taking the total number to 204. Neighboring Japan is also seeing cases in several unconnected areas. The spread outside China continued to roil markets and stocks fell globally.
— With assistance by Edward Bolingbroke, and Alex Harris
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