The recent fast rise in yields is draining demand for US Treasuries putting the bond market at risk of another selloff.
Yesterday, the US Treasury sold 2-year and 5-year notes showing a strong deterioration in bidding metrics which might lead to a disastrous 7-year note auction today.
Demand for the 2-year Notes was particularly weak, with the bid-to-cover ratio falling to 2.28x, the lowest level since December 2008, during the Lehman bankruptcy. Indirect bidders plunged to 45.32% from 60.53% in the prior auction causing the yield to tail by 0.08bps pricing at 0.31%, the highest yield since March 2020.
Despite weakness from the 2-year note sale didn’t leak to the following 5-year auction, it’s safe to say that there are signs that demand for US Treasuries is deteriorating. Although the bid-to-cover ratio for the 5-year notes was in line with the year-to-date average, indirect bidders fell from 62.7% in the previous auction to 54.3%, the lowest since March 2020.
Today the selloff continues with 10-year yields trading well above 1.5%. The belly of the curve is rising in a bearish construction, indicating that the market is beginning to position for earlier rate hikes as inflationary pressures increasingly look more permanent. Indeed, the Eurodollar strip is close to showing a rate hike as early as June 2022, and it is already pricing two rate hikes by the end of 2022.
It looks like the perfect explosive mix ahead of a bond auction, which maturity usually is not liked by the market. In February, we witnessed the most brutal 7-year auction in years as the yield curve was selling off on inflation fears (does it ring a bell?). Suppose today's 7-year auction tails a lot. In that case, it's safe to assume that the secondary bond market will come under fire, too, forcing yields even higher.