US 10-year Bonds Hit Record Low Yields

Author: Corey McDowell - Economics Editor

Published: 27 Feb 2020

Last Updated: 2 Feb 2023


10-year United States Treasury bond yields have dipped to an all-time low amid a rush from investors into safe haven assets. Sovereign bonds issued by the US Treasury are popular in times of economic uncertainty, with market players recently rushing into them due to their apparent security. However, the yield on the 10-year bond has dropped to just 1.13% (update 10th March: 0.683%). 

Savers Squeezed

Credit/Source - tradingeconomics.com

This is significant for two reasons. Firstly, a drop in yield levels ties in with rising demand for these bonds. US government debt is seen as a safe haven asset, so increasing demand for these bonds indicates rising economic uncertainty. Secondly, official figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show American inflation consistently higher than these yield levels (approximately 2%, and rising). This means the real yield is extremely likely to a negative figure, or in other words investors in these bonds will lose money over time. 

As a result of this rush to these “safe haven” bonds, yields have plunged to historic lows. On the contrary, junk bonds (which offer higher yields to compensate a higher risk) have seen rising premiums to reflect the higher risks of an economic downturn spreading globally. 

Gold and Bonds

Demand for sovereign bonds and the US dollar have increased over the last week, most likely driven by the spread of the coronavirus epidemic to the middle east and most of Europe. But rather surprisingly, gold and silver have dropped in the same timeframe, dropping 3.48% and 9.06% respectively. This leaves gold sitting at $1,595.63 per troy ounce and silver at $16.79 per troy ounce. One explanation of this would be a mass sell-off by speculators to compensate for losses elsewhere, so this could be an opportune time to get hold of these precious metals. 

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