Treasurys Strengthen as BOE Keeps Rates Steady

By Sam Goldfarb Features Dow Jones Newswires

Government bonds in the U.S. and Europe strengthened Thursday after the Bank of England held its benchmark interest rates steady and lowered its forecasts for economic growth, further undermining bets on a quick shift by major central banks toward tighter monetary policy.

Continue Reading Below

The BOE's decision had its strongest impact in the U.K., where the yield on the 10-year U.K. government bond settled at 1.145%, according to Tradeweb, down from 1.236% Wednesday. But ripple effects were felt elsewhere, with the 10-year German bond yield falling to 0.453% from 0.486%, and the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield slipping to 2.230%, its lowest close since June 28, from 2.264%.

Yields fall as bond prices rise.

Though less of a focus for U.S. investors than the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank, investors follow the BOE in part because of what it can signal about broad central bank trends. In June, BOE Gov. Mark Carney added to a selloff in global bonds when he said that a removal of monetary stimulus could be necessary if the economy improves, echoing similar comments by ECB President Mario Draghi.

At the peak of selling in early July, the 10-year Treasury yield nearly reached 2.4%. Since then, however, central bank officials have worked to temper expectations of tighter policy, pointing to soft inflation among other factors that are likely to keep interest rates low.

"Central banks were putting out this pretty strong, coordinated hawkish message," but that message has "become a little more diluted," said Shahid Ladha, head of strategy for G10 Rates Americas at BNP Paribas.

Continue Reading Below

Treasurys also got a boost Thursday from a disappointing report on the U.S. service sector.

The Institute for Supply Management said its nonmanufacturing index fell to 53.9 in July from 57.4 in June. That was below the forecast of 57.0 from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. The employment component of the index also retreated, a day before the scheduled release of the Labor Department's more closely watched monthly jobs report.

Economists surveyed by the Journal expect Friday's report will show payrolls rising by 180,000 in July and average hourly wages ticking up by 0.3%. Signs of accelerating wage growth could put pressure on bonds. Still, many analysts don't expect a big reaction to the report given the widely held view that the Fed won't raise interest-rates again until December at the earliest.

Write to Sam Goldfarb at sam.goldfarb@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2017 16:16 ET (20:16 GMT)