After initially showing a lack of direction, treasuries moved sharply higher over the course of the trading session on Friday.
Bond prices pulled back off their best levels in afternoon trading but remained firmly positive. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, tumbled by 8.2 basis points to 1.528 percent.
The rally by treasuries came amid renewed U.S.-China trade concerns after a series of threatening tweets from President Donald Trump.
Trump claimed the U.S. does not need China and would be “far better off without them” and subsequently ordered American companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China.”
“The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP,” Trump tweeted.
The tweets from Trump, which sparked a sell-off on Wall Street, came after the Chinese Finance Ministry announced plans to impose new tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports.
The new levies include 5 percent tariffs on U.S. soybeans and crude oil imports, which are scheduled to take effect on September 1st.
The move by China was in response to Trump’s plan to impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Trump said in one his series of tweets attacking China that he would be responding to the new tariffs this afternoon.
The early volatility in the bond market came as traders reacted to the tariff news as well as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s highly anticipated speech at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium.
Powell reiterated during his prepared remarks that the central bank will “act as appropriate” to sustain the U.S. economic expansion.
“We are carefully watching developments as we assess their implications for the U.S. outlook and the path of monetary policy,” Powell added.
Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, said Powell’s comment sounds “analogous to the ‘closely monitor’ language the Fed last used in the May FOMC statement to indicate a rate cut was coming soon.”
“In contrast, in the July statement the FOMC only pledged to ‘continue to monitor’ the incoming data which, coupled with Powell’s post-meeting press conference, gave the impression that the Fed wasn’t in a rush to cut rates again,” Ashworth said.
Ashworth subsequently believes that Powell’s closely watched speech appears to open the door to another rate cut at the Fed’s September meeting.
Meanwhile, Trump seemed less impressed by the Fed Chairman’s remarks, going so far as to question if Powell is a “bigger enemy” than Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“As usual, the Fed did NOTHING! It is incredible that they can ‘speak’ without knowing or asking what I am doing, which will be announced shortly,” Trump tweeted.
He added, “We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed. I will work ‘brilliantly’ with both, and the U.S. will do great.”
While Powell is a Trump appointee, the president has repeatedly lashed out at the Fed for failing to heed his calls for dramatically lower interest rates.
Any further developments on the trade front may impact trading next week along with reports on durable goods orders, consumer confidence, and personal income and spending.
Bond traders are also likely to keep an eye on the results of the Treasury Department’s auctions of two-year, five-year, and seven-year notes.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com