Money & Banking

Bond yields trend higher despite softer inflation

Bhavik Nair Chennai | Updated on October 17, 2021

Rising crude prices, higher US treasury yields impact yields

Benchmark yield closed marginally higher this week despite positive inflation data even as rising crude prices, higher US treasury yields and domestic liquidity factor take precedence.

During the monetary policy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) halted the G-SAP programme while saying it would increase the quantum of VRRR auctions to Rs6 lakh crore by December.

The central bank last week conducted an 8-day Variable Rate Reverse Repo auction in which the cut-off yield came in at 3.9 per cent. In comparision, the cut-off for a 7-day VRRR auction had come in at 3.61 per cent in the first week of October. The increasing cut-off seems to reflect the central bank’s comfort in paying a higher rate to remove excessive liquidity.

On the positive side, retail inflation dropped to a five-month low of 4.35 per cent in September. Bond market participants are of the view that the next inflation print will most likely come in below 4 per cent due to a favourable base effect. Post that, there could be some rise in inflation, they say.

However, it seems the days when market cheered this sort of news seem to be over, at least temporarily so, as other factors weigh heavily on traders’ minds.

Rising crude price

The halting of G-SAP comes at a time when crude prices are gaining an upward momentum. Brent crude prices closed near the $85-mark last week, having risen by almost $2.5 in a week. To give a context, it has risen by almost $7 / barrel since the beginning of the month.

At the same time, the 10-year US treasury yield touched 1.63 per cent last week, before cooling to 1.575 per cent.

Bond dealers say if both the crude and the US treasury yields continue to rise, it could have an impact on the domestic yields.

Vijay Sharma, senior executive vice-president at PNB Gilts opines that the market is mainly looking at only these two factors.

“Rising crude prices and hardening US Treasury yields are the main factors that are driving the G-Sec yields higher. Under these adverse global conditions, the withdrawal of G-SAP has exacerbated the upmove. The market already knows that the next inflation print would likely come in below 4 per cent given the low base effect. Market participants will be watching out whether at 6.35-6.4 per cent levels, will the RBI do something to stabilise the yields. If crude prices and US treasury yields stabilise, the benchmark bonds could find demand returning at close to 6.4 per cent," Sharma said.

Published on October 17, 2021

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