Feb 16, 2023 - Economy

Some Treasuries yield more than 5% for the first time since 2007

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yields on six-month U.S. Treasury bills scrambled over 5% on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first time since 2007 — during the go-go days before the Great Recession — that U.S. government securities were sporting a so-called 5-handle.

Driving the news: The recent run of strong economic data — robust reports on retail spending and inflation this week — has prompted investors to raise their expectations for the Fed's interest rate hikes this year.

💭 Our thought bubble: Changes to "handles" are important because of a range of psychological phenomena and cognitive biases that describe how human judgments are influenced by easy-to-remember reference points like big round numbers.

  • In other words: It's a new milestone for investors.

The bottom line: If we start to see more 5-handles in the Treasury markets — the 3-month Treasury bill is now near 4.80% — it would suggest investors are getting comfortable with the idea that the economy could be stronger than anyone expected a year ago, requiring higher interest rates in response.

Go deeper