Wobbly economic growth coupled with slumping oil prices have substantially lowered the expectations for a rate hike by the U.S. central bank until December, Morgan Stanley said Sunday, adding that investors will flock to bonds as safe havens instead of the volatile stock markets in 2016.
The bank cut its bond yield forecasts for 2016, according to Bloomberg and said that U.S. treasury 10-year yields will fall to 1.45 percent by the end of September, close to the record low of 1.38 percent set in 2012. Bond prices move inversely to yields.
Most major economies will do worse in 2016 than 2015, Monday’s report said, prompting investors to park their funds in the safety of government debt. Globally, the Wall Street bank sees opportunities in eurozone and Japanese bonds, thanks to continuing monetary policy easing from the European Central Bank(ECB) and Bank of Japan (BoJ).
“The global backdrop for rates markets looks so supportive that 2016 may become known as the ‘Year of the Bull," the bank said Sunday.
An early rally in bond trading in 2016 is being driven by unprecedented monetary easing by the ECB and the BoJ in the past month. While the BoJ pulled its benchmark interest rate into negative territory along with its other stimulus programs, the ECB lowered its deposit rate to -0.4 percent and increased its bond buying program last week.
“It used to be that everything was correlated to movements in U.S. Treasuries and now the U.S. seems to be following,” Jim Caron told Bloomberg, a money manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, which oversees $406 billion. Treasuries are “being more dominated by global events.”
Morgan Stanley, one of the 22 primary dealers that trade with the U.S. Federal Reserve and underwrite the U.S. bonds, had reportedly pushed investors to buy bonds in a January report, saying that the “bull market is here.”