March 18, 2020 / 3:40 PM / 19 days ago

'Crowded' Treasuries see yields spike after poll reveals scramble

LONDON (Reuters) - “If everyone owns it, there’s no one left to buy” has long been a financial market truism and that may be partly reflected in the move in U.S. Treasury yields on Wednesday as they hit their highest levels in two weeks.

FILE PHOTO: United States one dollar bills are curled and inspected during production at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

While a dash for “safety” amid the coronavirus-related economic shock and renewed Federal Reserve bond buying explains the recent scramble for T-bonds, Wednesday’s sudden reversal came after a closely watched investor survey by Bank of America indicated demand for Treasuries was the “most crowded trade”.

The same trade had previously spent five months - June to October 2019 - as the survey’s “most crowded trade” amid the U.S.-China trade standoff.

(GRAPHIC: Treasury yields ripe for a snap higher? - here)

The publication of the survey came on the back of a blistering rally in global bonds driven by fears of the coronavirus pandemic, one which took U.S. Treasury yields to record lows below 1%.

Yields have quickly snapped back higher as the prospect of “helicopter money” grows, with governments proposing unprecedented stimulus programs to protect against the economic shock.

Assets occupying the “most-crowded” trade question on the BAML survey have previously unraveled - notably, Bitcoin in late 2017 and short volatility bets in early 2018.

(GRAPHIC: Evolution of Global FMS 'most crowded trade - here)

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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