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Bonds News

TREASURIES-Yield curve steepens on infrastructure spending plans

NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - Longer-dated Treasury yields rose on Monday morning, steepening the yield curve, on investor expectations that U.S. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure initiative - to be announced Wednesday - could mean faster economic growth and a dramatic increase in Treasury bond issuance.

Biden is expected to announce some details of his infrastructure spending plan on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The plan could have a price tag as high as $4 trillion to pay for traditional roads and bridges while also addressing climate change and income equality.

Biden suggested to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a phone call on Friday that democratic countries should have a plan to rival China’s Belt and Road initiative.

The move higher in yields is “on expectations of infrastructure. There’s a lot of apprehension about what President Biden is going to announce on Wednesday and whether that will push up deficits materially in the years to come. That, I think, is weighing on markets,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior U.S. rates strategist at TD Securities.

The possibility of a multitrillion-dollar package has not yet fully been digested by markets, Goldberg said.

“I think there’s more upward pressure on rates to come,” Goldberg added.

The benchmark 10-year yield, which moves in step with economic expectations, rose to a session high of 1.697% in mid-morning New York trade and was last up 3.6 basis points on the day at 1.696%. Shorter-dated notes did not move at the same pace, with the two-year yield roughly flat on the day.

That steepened the spread between the two- and 10-year yields, the most common measure of the yield curve to 155.3 basis points, the widest in a week. The yield curve steepens when economic expectations rise.

Longer-dated yields were also on the rise because of the expected increased debt issuance to pay for the infrastructure plan, which drives prices lower and yields higher.

The debt issued to pay for last year’s coronavirus relief bill was largely at shorter-dated maturities. Monday morning’s steepening yield curve could reflect expectations that the Treasury Department could issue new debt at the longer end of the curve, though Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week that there are no current plans to lengthen the maturity of Treasury debt issued.

The Treasury market on Monday was little moved by the fallout from losses at Archegos Capital Management, which triggered a fire sale of stocks on Friday.

“The hedge fund issue ... you wouldn’t typically have rates selling off into that, you’d have a flight to safety because people would be closing out their equity positions,” Goldberg said. (Reporting by Kate Duguid; Editing by Will Dunham)

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