Buying US government debt now yields negative levels in a disconcerting indication of economic risk ahead. The one-month and three-month bond yield on US Treasury bills fell below zero. In the wake of coronavirus, it is another troubling first for American financial markets.
Yields plunged a week and a half after the Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark rates and as investors flocked to fixed income and other safe haven protections in the midst of general market chaos.
Global interest rates would have remained stable by this time around. It all resulted in an insta-recession brought about by the pandemic, and after an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia worsened the situation. Now the United States has seen some of what has been the case for some time in Europe and Japan: falling interest rates.
The US central bank cut interest rates to near zero last week and launched a variety of initiatives this week to smooth up the volatility in markets as well as support businesses and lenders.
Congress settled on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package in the early hours of Wednesday morning to bolster the US economy in the face of the global health distress.
According to analysts, it is not just the harm that the coronavirus has done that has brought us here. It is the enormous risk taking place across the economy that places America in a vulnerable position to handle such a crisis.
It sparked a global credit crunch after the 2008 subprime mortgage crash that descended into a financial riot. The result was a catastrophic Great Depression. The financial authorities reacted with a display of programs of "political stability" to enforce a "macro-prudence" strategy.
Today's negative yields is the first time since four and a half years that both bills blinked bright red and output fell to minus 0.002 percent each. Wednesday's readings fall just short of those. The one-month stood at minus-0.053 percent, while the three-month was around 2:35 p.m. at minus-0.033 percent.
Bloomberg noted that the yields on the six-month and 12-month bills were 0.06 percent and 0.20 percent, respectively. The majority of the Treasury yield curve currently sits in a positive trend, despite being inverted before the reductions in emergency prices.
Economists say that negative interest rates might be more of a technical problem in the United States than the result of the pandemic. The world has turned upside down, however, and we have not yet begun to obtain all the recessionary economic readings from increasingly rising unemployment claims and unemployment, followed by negative readings of industrial production, manufacturing and service revenues and gross domestic product.