May 15, 2019

Everybody wants U.S. bonds

The seal of the U.S. Treasury Department. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The trade war has been a boon for U.S. bonds, which had already seen significant buying for most of 2019.

Driving the news: U.S. Treasury yields fell to a 6-week low on Monday, as investors pushed yields on the benchmark 10-year notes back towards their lows of the year. And data shows investors are snapping up every kind of U.S.-issued bond they can get.

Details: Data from Lipper shows U.S. core bond funds took in $32.6 billion in the first quarter, the second-highest inflows in history. That trend has continued in Q2, as net inflows have totaled $16.9 billion to date.

  • Reuters' Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss notes that data from the U.S. Treasury Department shows foreign buyers made net purchases of U.S. bonds to the tune of $11.3 billion in January and February (the latest available data) and EPFR Global data shows U.S. investment grade and high yield bonds also saw inflows and strong returns in Q1.
  • That's a complete reversal from 2018, which saw $35.6 billion leave bond funds in Q4, the worst quarter ever for bond fund outflows, Lipper's data shows.

What's happening: The trade war is exacerbating red-hot demand for the safety of the U.S. bond market that was ignited by the Fed's interest rate reversal in January. When central banks raise interest rates, it reduces the value of already-held bonds.

Go deeper: China will raise tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 859,796 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 189,618 — Total deaths: 4,079 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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NYC races to build field hospitals as coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces at the USTA Bille Jean King tennis center that the venue will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference Tuesday of plans to triple hospital bed numbers to combat the novel coronavirus by transforming facilities into makeshift hospitals — including U.S. Open tennis courts.

The big picture: The city now accounts for a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday morning. De Blasio said the city had "about 20,000 working hospital beds in our major hospitals" before the outbreak. "We now need to, in just the next weeks ... produce three times that number," he said.

Go deeperArrow21 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 4,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,000 deaths reported in New York City alone, per Johns Hopkins data. The number of deaths are still much lower than those reported in Italy, Spain and China.

Of note: Hours earlier, President Trump noted it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health