Treasurys Strengthen as Fed Minutes Show Policy Debate

By Sam Goldfarb Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. government bonds edged lower Wednesday as investors favored riskier assets ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

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In recent trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 2.269%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.264% Tuesday.

Yields, which rise when bond prices fall, have climbed this week as global stocks have gained, in a reversal of their moves from last week.

Investors have been more willing to buy riskier assets in recent days, partly in response to signs of easing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, analysts said.

Investors have also responded to solid economic data, including a better-than-expected report on retail sales on Tuesday, and comments from Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley on Monday suggesting he expects another interest-rate increase this year.

Still, the response from the bond market has been modest, indicating investors remain focused on soft inflation data and other issues such as looming deadlines for Congress to extend government funding and raise the debt ceiling.

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There has been "good news on the data front but there's not enough to lead to a sustained selloff in Treasurys," said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Société Générale SA.

After falling for much of the overnight session, bond prices got a modest boost from a Reuters report that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi won't make any major policy announcements next week when he speaks at the Fed's Jackson Hole Conference, analysts said.

Initial reports that Mr. Draghi would speak at the conference had fueled speculation that he might use the occasion to signal how the central bank might scale back its bond-buying program, which has helped keep a lid on bond yields globally by reducing the supply of government debt.

Investors will get more insight into the outlook for monetary policy Wednesday with the release of the minutes from the Fed's July policy meeting. Investors don't expect the Fed to raise interest rates again until December at the earliest. Still, the minutes could provide more detail about when the Fed plans to start reducing its holdings of Treasury debt and help reveal how concerned officials are about inflation, which remains stuck below their 2% annual target, analysts said.

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

U.S. government bonds rebounded Wednesday after two days of declines as minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed a debate over the recent inflation slowdown and when to next raise interest rates.

In recent trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 2.224%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.264% Tuesday. Yields fall when bond prices rise.

Fed officials meeting in July were divided over how to respond to sagging inflation, according to minutes of the meeting released Wednesday. Some felt the Fed could "afford to be patient" in raising interest rates while others worried there could be a spurt in inflation that could be difficult to control.

After sliding overnight, Treasurys already had recovered earlier in the U.S. trading session, halting a mild selloff that had started Monday.

Bond prices have declined this week partly in response to easing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Investors also have responded to solid economic data, including a better-than-expected report on retail sales on Tuesday, and comments from Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley on Monday suggesting he expects another interest-rate increase this year.

Still, the response from the bond market has been modest, indicating investors remain focused on soft inflation data and potential economic pitfalls such as looming deadlines for Congress to extend government funding and raise the debt ceiling.

There has been "good news on the data front but there's not enough to lead to a sustained selloff in Treasurys," said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Société Générale SA.

Treasurys initially got a boost Wednesday from a Reuters report that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi won't make any major policy announcements next week when he speaks at the Fed's Jackson Hole Conference.

Earlier reports that Mr. Draghi would speak at the conference had fueled speculation that he might use the occasion to signal how the central bank might scale back its bond-buying program, which has helped keep a lid on bond yields globally by limiting the supply of government debt.

Treasury yields also ticked lower along with U.S. stocks following reports that two advisory councils to President Donald Trump were disbanding after Mr. Trump's controversial responses to the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 16, 2017 14:59 ET (18:59 GMT)