Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Yield Curve - February 11, 2016

Many people believe that the Yield Curve is an important economic indicator.
On March 1, 2010, I wrote a post on the issue, titled "The Yield Curve As A Leading Economic Indicator."
An excerpt from that post:
On the NY Fed link above, they have posted numerous studies that support the theory that the yield curve is a leading indicator.   My objections with using it as a leading indicator, especially now, are various.  These objections include: I don’t think such a narrow measure is one that can be relied upon;  both the yields at the short and long-end of the curve have been overtly and officially manipulated, thus distorting the curve; and, although the yield curve may have been an accurate leading indicator in the past, this period of economic weakness is inherently dissimilar in nature from past recessions and depressions in a multitude of ways – thus, historical yardsticks and metrics probably won’t (and have not) proven appropriate.
While I continue to have the above reservations regarding the "yield curve" as an indicator, I do believe that it should be monitored.
As an indication of the yield curve, below is a weekly chart.  The top plot shows the spread between the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury, from January 1, 1990 through February 10, 2016.  The February 10, 2016 value is 1.00% (1.705% - .71%).   The bottom plot shows the S&P500:
(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of; chart creation and annotation by the author)
10 year 2 year spread

Additionally, below is a chart showing the same spread between the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury, albeit with a slightly different measurement, using constant maturity securities.  This daily chart is from June 1, 1976 to February 9, 2016, with recessionary periods shown in gray. This chart shows a value of 1.05%:
10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Minus 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity
source:  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Minus 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity [T10Y2Y], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed February 11, 2016:
The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation
SPX at 1851.86 as this post is written

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