Market Rates Are Finally Adjusting To Fed Tightening

By Bryan Rich

October 4, 5:00 pm EST

 The move in rates continued to spook markets today.  The 10-year yield traded as high as 3.23%.
Now, despite the dramatic tone you’ll find on CNBC when stocks go down, a 10-year yield at 3.23% isn’t a crisis.  And a stock market that is down 1% from all-time highs isn’t a crisis or even a “sell-off.”

For perspective, the Fed has now moved 8 times off of zero.  The leaves the benchmark (short term) rate set by the Fed at 2-2.25%, still well below long-term average rates.  And that leaves the market determined (longer term) interest rate, just below 3.25%, still well below the long-term average.  With that, rates are still low.  In fact, if we took the record low in the 10-year yield, set in July of 2016, and applied the Fed’s 200 basis points of hikes, we would have a 10-year of 3.34%.  We are still south of that.  I would argue at current levels, the interest rate market is finally pricing in sustainable economic recovery (pricing out risks of another post-economic crisis shock/slump).

Now, when rates are on the move, people immediately start talking about debt service.  On that note, consumers and companies are in as good a financial position as they’ve been in a very long time (record high household net worth, record profits) .  Household debt service ratios are at record lows.

Bottom line, the move in rates is a growth story, not a crisis story.  We have 3%+ economic growth, with low inflation and solid employment.  We may have finally returned to the level of trust and confidence in the economy that fuels “animal spirits.”

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