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TREASURIES-Treasuries slip after Yellen says tax cuts should be repealed

Herbert Lash
·4 min read

(Adds details from testimony) By Herbert Lash NEW YORK, Jan 19 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury yields fell slightly on Tuesday after U.S. Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen said during Senate confirmation testimony that tax cuts enacted in 2017 for large corporations should be repealed. Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, urged lawmakers to "act big" on the next coronavirus relief package, adding that the benefits outweigh the costs of a higher debt burden. "Though the amount of debt relative to the economy has gone up, the interest burden hasn’t," she told the Senate Finance Committee. Yellen said she believed some of the signature 2017 tax reform act should be repealed, such as the cut in corporate tax rates, though rates would not go back to their pre-2017 levels. Benchmark 10-year yields <US10YT-RR> traded just off their session low of 1.090%, falling from earlier slight gains. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on Wednesday, outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal last week, saying bold investment was needed to jump-start the economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines to bring the virus under control. Earlier, breakeven interest rates on U.S. 10-year TIPS , which measure expected annual inflation for the next 10 years, rose to a more than a two-year high of 2.11%, up from 2.089% on Friday. Rates at the long end have been rising on expectations of rising inflation. "Generally people expect inflation to be on the upswing here. You see that in inflation expectations, which are trending higher," said Stan Shipley, macro research analyst at Evercore ISI in New York. Crude oil, many industrial commodity prices, both tradeable and non-tradeable like plastics, are on the rise, Shipley said. When spending plans by the incoming Biden administration are added, higher rates are likely this year, he said. "There will be a push by the Biden administration to try to get wage gains to accelerate too," he said. Benchmark 10-year yields <US10YT-RR> traded flat at 1.0937%, falling from earlier gains. The benchmark rate closed at 1.085% on Friday before the long U.S. weekend, with markets closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. Rates two weeks ago jumped above 1% for the first time since March and have trended higher since. Yellen told the Senate committee that extended unemployment and food aid will provide the "biggest bank for the buck" in stimulus spending. The core focus will be the needs of workers in cities and rural areas, she said. Yellen had been expected to urge lawmakers in her testimony to "act big" on the next coronavirus relief package, adding that the benefits outweigh the costs of a higher debt burden. Yields jumped last week ahead of Biden's announcement of plans for a $1.9 trillion fiscal package on hopes the stimulus will jump-start a weakened U.S. economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines to bring the coronavirus under control. Federal Reserve officials have talked down market speculation that the U.S. central bank would pull back, or taper, its bond-buying program. The yield curve between two-year and 10-year notes rose slightly to 96.40 basis points. January 19 Tuesday 2:43PM New York / 1943 GMT Price Current Net Yield % Change (bps) Three-month bills 0.08 0.0811 0.000 Six-month bills 0.09 0.0913 0.000 Two-year note 99-253/256 0.131 -0.006 Three-year note 99-198/256 0.2011 -0.008 Five-year note 99-162/256 0.4502 -0.005 Seven-year note 98-252/256 0.7755 -0.004 10-year note 97-248/256 1.0937 -0.003 20-year bond 95-132/256 1.6409 -0.011 30-year bond 95-20/256 1.8402 -0.012 DOLLAR SWAP SPREADS Last (bps) Net Change (bps) U.S. 2-year dollar swap 7.25 0.50 spread U.S. 3-year dollar swap 6.50 0.50 spread U.S. 5-year dollar swap 7.00 -0.25 spread U.S. 10-year dollar swap 0.00 -0.25 spread U.S. 30-year dollar swap -26.25 -0.75 spread (Reporting by Herbert Lash; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)