The rout in global bonds continued today.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury climbed 7 basis points to 2.22% as of 3 p.m. New York time. That’s the highest level since January and comes after a jump of 37 basis points last week. Yields on the 10-year German Bund rose to 0.32% in the longest losing streak for these benchmark bonds since May. Yields on Italian and Portuguese debt climbed to the highest levels since July 2015 and June 2016, respectively.
The worst damage continued to be suffered in emerging market bonds. The yield on Thailand’s 10-year bond, for example, jumped by the most since May after overseas investors pulled a record 27 billion baht ($763 million) from the Bangkok bond market on Friday.
Since the election, emerging market bonds denominated in local currencies have fallen by 7.3% as of November 11. That’s the biggest drop since October 2008. The Mexican peso is down 12%, and the Brazilian real is lower by 7.8%.
Odds in the Fed Funds futures market for a December 14 interest increase from the Federal Reserve climbed to 92%.
The biggest worry, though, actually comes from Tokyo. While yields on German bonds have climbed in this global rout, the yields on Japanese government bonds have held stay at just under 0%. This has come, despite a drop in the yen of 1.3% to the weakest level since June, because the Bank of Japan has been willing step into the market and buy Japanese government bonds in order to support bond prices. With the yen falling in value and the global bond prices tumbling, it gets ever more expensive for the Bank of Japan to continue its bond buying. The danger to global bond markets will come if the Bank of Japan decides it won’t/can’t defend the price of Japanese government bonds any longer. That would likely result in a quick drop in prices and an uptick in yields in Tokyo that might lead to a loss of confidence in global bond markets that is enough to disrupt that market. No danger of default or anything else fundamentally serious, but any quick shift in the world’s safe haven bond market would be enough to produce a step up in selling even if it would be only temporary.
The bond market, which most investors are used to thinking of as a low risk market, isn’t very low risk right now.