Jeff Gundlach: 3 Reasons Interest Rates Won’t Head Much higher


jeffrey_gundlachWith the rate on the 10 year Treasury up around 50 basis points over the last month, many prominent bond investors (including PIMCO’s Bill Gross) have called an end to the decades long bond bull market.  Judging by his presentation earlier this week entitled “What in the World is Going on?” bond guru Jeff Gundlach may not agree.  Here are 3 reasons he thinks interest rates aren’t headed much higher from here.

Reason #1: Global Growth is Slowing

Bond rates generally rise when growth is rising, causing inflation expectations to pick up and investors to demand a higher rate of return to compensate.  In slide 9 of his presentation, which you can see below, Mr. Gundlach shows that in fact the opposite is happening.  After the initial uptick after the financial crisis, global GDP growth has been in a steady downward trend.

Global GDP

As you can see in the chart below, GDP forecasts for all areas of the world in 2013 also continue to fall, meaning that economists are getting less not more optimistic about future growth.
global gdp growth

Reason #2: Inflation Expectations are falling again

To see what the market’s future inflation expectations are, traders often look at the 10 year breakeven rate, which subtracts the yield on a 10 year TIPS from the yield on a 10 year Treasury note.  As you can see from the chart below, inflation expectations have not been heading higher along with the 10 year treasury yield.  In fact after peaking at over 2.5% earlier this year the break even rate has dropped to around 2.19% today.

10 year breakeven rate

Reason #3: The Fed is Not Going to Let Interest Rates Rise Much Higher

One of the biggest reasons the many have turned more optimistic about the US economy is that the housing market, which was at the center of the financial crisis, has started to turn around. One of the primary reasons why is that interest rates on mortgages have been at very low levels, making houses much more affordable for the average buyer.

However, as you can see in the slide below mortgage rates have spiked substantially over the last month from a low of around 3.5% to around 4.3% today. In Mr. Gundlach’s opinion the Fed is likely to step in and actually increase QE to try and hold rates down if we see interest rates head much higher from here.

30 year mortgage rates

For more Jeffrey Gundlach commentary see the Jeff Gundlach page here at Learn bonds.

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David Waring

David Waring was the founder of LearnBonds.com and has been a major contributor to the extensive library of investing news and information available on the site. Until the launch of Learnbonds.com in late 2011 there was no single site on the internet catering exclusively to the individual bond investor. This was true even though more individuals own stocks than bonds. Learn Bonds was launched to fill that gap.

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