Three of the world’s most influential bond investors say the Federal Reserve is still on course to raise interest rates this year, a view the head of the New York Fed signaled could happen twice — even after April’s smaller-than-predicted gain in jobs.
Bill Gross, former manager of the biggest bond fund, said policy makers may act at their next meeting in June. Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz SE and a Bloomberg View columnist, said the Fed may move twice this year. Mark Kiesel at Pacific Investment Management Co. and New York Fed President William Dudley echoed the comments.
Gross and his peers are warning investors not to count out the Fed after the Labor Department reported U.S. employers added 160,000 workers last month, short of the 200,000 positions projected in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is also examining earnings, which rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier, more than forecast. Two-year note yields, according to Gross, are too low.
Price Isn’t Right
The yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 1.76 percent as of 9:17 a.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader data. The price of the 1.625 percent security due in February 2026 rose 1/8, or $1.25 per $1,000 face amount, to 98 3/4.
Two-year note yields were at 0.71 percent after falling Friday to 0.68 percent, the lowest in almost three months. A quarter-point rate increase would push the Fed’s target range to 0.5-0.75 percent, with the upper end climbing past the two-year yield, Gross said.
“I don’t think it’s appropriately priced,” he said.
Gross had earlier been premature in calling an end to a global bond rally. “Developed market yields have bottomed,” he wrote on Twitter on March 10. The yield on the Bloomberg Global Developed Sovereign Bond Index has fallen to 0.65 percent from 0.79 percent on the day of the comment. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said at an event in London on Monday that the central bank’s “wait-and-see” stance was appropriate and that he’d like to have more confidence in the outlook for inflation. At the same time, he said U.S. economic fundamentals are “good” and that the labor market has been strong for a while.