10-year Treasury yield jumps past 1.5% as Fed chief Powell pledges ‘patient’ stance on rising inflation

Jerome Powell hearing
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing on “The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress,” in front of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on February 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • The 10-year yield jumped past 1.5% on Thursday after Fed chief Powell said the central bank will be “patient” in dealing with rising inflation. 
  • The surge in borrowing costs sent stocks sharply lower, with the Nasdaq 100 erasing gains for the year. 
  • Wall Street’s “fear index” climbed as much as much as 20% during the session. 
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The yield on the 10-year Treasury note reclaimed the 1.5% level on Thursday, hitting again at its highest in more than a year, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the central bank will keep a steady hand in the face of rising inflation.

Powell, in a virtual appearance at the Wall Street Journal Jobs Summit in New York, said he expects the Fed will “be patient” in waiting for inflation to trend above 2%.

His comments were the first to reaffirm that, despite the shift in the Treasury market, the central bank will maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy.

The 1o-year yield touched 1.555%, the highest reading since it zoomed past 1.6% a week earlier. That earlier move pushed the yield to its highest level since February 2020 as investors continued to price in expectations for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent expectations of hotter inflation. The yield on Wednesday settled at 1.453%. Bond yields rise when prices fall.

The spike in yields points to rising borrowing costs and the move sent US stocks spiraling lower. The Nasdaq 100 lost its gains for the year and the VIX, Wall Street’s so-called “fear index”, soared by nearly 20% before paring the rise to about 7%.

The yield on the two-year note, which can speak to market expectations for central bank policy, edged down to 0.141% from 0.149%.

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