An Alternative View On Recent Treasury Weakness
The general dogma seems to be that the recent Treasury weakness reflects either a) risk-averse bondholders rotating to stocks because everything is fixed and it seems better to buy something at its highs than its lows? or b) China is punishing us for the rare-metals challenge. We posit an alternative, less conspiracy-theory, less-conventional-wisdom (who is buying the Treasuries you are selling and who is selling the stocks you are buying reprise) perspective on the recent Treasury weakness. Its supply-and-demand stupid. The last few weeks have seen massive, record-breaking amounts of investment grade USD-based corporate bond issuance, at the same time dealer inventories for corporate bonds are at multi-year lows and Treasury holdings at all-time-highs. In general to underwrite the massive corporate bond issuance, dealers will place rate-locks (or short Treasuries/Swaps in various ways) to control the yield and sell the idea of the 'spread' to clients (which is where most real-money buyers will be focused on value. We suggest that the almost unprecedented corporate issuance and therefore need for rate-locks has provided a significant offer for Treasuries that the dealers (who are loaded) and the Fed (who is only minimally involved) was unable to suppress. The key question, going forward, is whether the expectations of a much lower issuance calendar will relieve this marginal offer in Treasuries and allow rates to revert back down?