Back in late 2016, Jeff Gundlach predicted that the yield on the 10Y Treasury would hit 6% in four or five years (so by 2021) at the latest. Not any more.
DoubleLine's CEO became the latest bond guru to chime in today on the collapsing yield curve, and specifically the inversion observed between the two- to five-year maturities...
... which to Gundlach suggest "total bond market disbelief in the Federal Reserve’s prior plans to raise rates through 2019." As discussed repeatedly over the past 24 hours, the 2s5s is now the most inverted it has been since the financial crisis...
... while the closely-watched 2s10s was less than 10bps away from inversion at one point on Tuesday.
Gundlach is right: according to the market not only is the Fed barely likely to hike just once in 2019 (or not even, technically, with just 22bps of hikes priced in) but it is now pricing in a rate cut in 2020 (if partial so far, at -6.5%).
Gundlach also told Reuters that "if the bond market trusts the Fed’s latest words about ‘data dependency,’ then the totally flat Treasury Note curve is predicting softer future growth (and) will stay the Fed’s hand."
“If that is indeed to be the case, the recent strong equity recovery is at risk from fundamental economic deterioration, a message that is sounding from the junk bond market, whose rebound has been far less impressive.”
As a result, Gundlach believes Powell will need to be especially careful what he says when the FOMC meets later this month to deliver on their promised rate hike, especially after Powell's Oct.3 "rookie mistake" that sent yields surging and stocks tumbling.
"There can’t be another screwup like last time, when they dropped ‘accommodative’ but simultaneously characterized the Fed Funds rate as ‘a long way’ from neutral", Gundlach said.
Of course, should Powell double down on his recent dovish tone, it would be seen as merely doing Trump's bidding with the president repeatedly threatening to "remove" the Fed chair if rate hikes continue, in the process compromising the flawed perception that the Fed is independent, and leading to even more market volatility and confusion.
In short: Powell's best and only option may be simply to resign and let someone else deal with the mess that Bernanke and Yellen left.