The nominal bond yields for advanced economies rose sharply during the first quarter of the year. This note analyzes the drivers of this increase across the jurisdictions and tenors of the yield curve. A key investor focus, in particular, has been the rise in the nominal bond yields in the United States, which has had notable global financial stability spillovers. The analysis indicates that the rise in inflation expectations is the primary driver of the rise in US nominal bond yields over the near term, whereas, the rise in real yields has been the major contributor to the rise in longer-term yields. The change in term premiums has also played a key role in driving both the longer-term inflation breakeven and real yields. Considering other major advanced economies, while inflation expectations have risen across the board in the near term, change in real yields appear more pertinent a driver for shifts in longer-term yields.
This note analyzes the stress experienced (and caused) by open-end mutual funds during the March COVID-19 stress episode, with a focus on global fixed-income funds. In light of increased valuation uncertainty, funds experienced a short period of intense withdrawals while the market liquidity of their holdings deteriorated substantially. To cover redemptions, afflicted funds predominantly shed liquid assets first—for example, cash, cash equivalents, and US Treasury securities. But forced asset sales amplified price pressures in markets and contributed to liquidity falling across fixed-income markets. This drop in market liquidity, as well as the general stress in financial markets, may have led to fund investors becoming even more sensitive to challenging portfolio performance and encouraged further withdrawals. Only after central banks intervened, directly and indirectly supporting asset managers, did liquidity and redemption stress subside. Overall, the March episode validated the financial-stability concerns about liquidity vulnerabilities in the fund industry and calls for further action to address them.