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Aug 10, 2018

Bonds & Fixed Income Report: Investors pile into safety of Treasurys amid Turkish currency crisis I CNBC


By: Alexandra Gibbs, Thomas Franck


U.S. government debt prices jumped on Friday as global credit contagion fears surrounding Turkey pushed traders into relatively safer assets.
The Turkish lira collapsed to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar Friday even as Turkey's leader, President Recep Erdogan downplayed the concerns, telling Turks "we have our God."
The lira fell more than 18 percent after President Donald Trump authorized the doubling of metals tariffs on Turkey.
Trump's comment came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked citizens to "change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira," noting this is "a domestic and national struggle."
The drop came after a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no apparent progress being made on the detention of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor detained in Turkey in 2016.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 6 basis points to 2.873 percent at 3:58 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond dropped 5 basis points to 3.03 percent. The Turkish 10-year yield hit a high of 22.82 percent, its highest level back through 2010. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
"In general what we've seen is the Turkish lira deprecation significantly against the dollar ... Trade tensions have kind of kept Treasurys in a range for some time," said Charlie Ripley, senior market strategist for Allianz Investment Management. "We also kind of expected more upward pressure on Treasury yields with the increased auction sizes, but it seems every time it seems to be met with demand. It's sort of a head-scratcher."
The Treasury Department has auctioned off record levels of debt to help fund a growing spending plans and President Donald Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Treasury auctioned a record $26 billion in 10-year notes on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the U.S. administration announced that it planned to inflict sanctions on Russia over its alleged chemical poisoning of an ex-spy in England earlier this year.
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned the States on Friday that enacting these sanctions could be treated as a declaration of economic war, according to Reuters. Consequently, investors have been keeping a close eye on the Russian ruble.
Likewise, investors continue to monitor trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. This week both governments announced the possibility of imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of goods.
U.S. consumer prices continued their climb in July, pointing to a gradual increase in inflation pressures and suggesting further interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index advanced 0.2 percent, the bulk of which was due to a rise in the cost of shelter. The CPI rose 0.1 percent in June. In the last year through July, the CPI increased 2.9 percent, matching the increase in June.
Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.2 percent. The annual increase in the so-called core CPI was 2.4 percent, the largest rise since September 2008. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast both the CPI and core CPI rising 0.2 percent in July.