“There are a lot of ways to measure the strong performance of long-term treasuries. The long-term U.S. government bond has had its best performance ever to this point in the year, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
In addition, this month likely will end as the best monthly performance for the long bond since August 2011. And this is likely to be the 19th month, since 1987, in which long-term treasuries returned at least 10 percentage points more than the S&P 500.
The yield on the 30-year treasury declined below 2% and also below the dividend yield of the S&P 500. The latter hasn’t happened since March 2009. The only times the S&P 500 dividend yield has exceeded the 30-year treasury yield were this week and several times during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
Historically, a period of strong outperformance by the long-term bond usually is followed by solid returns for stocks. But, historically, bond outperformance is associated with significant declines in stocks and recessions. Those conditions aren’t present now, so it’s not a good idea to count on a big, sustained bounce in stocks.
Instead, this decline in treasury yields means investors are convinced growth and inflation will be low for some time. It also represents a flight to safety as investors worry about trade conflicts and other geopolitical problems. “
Bob mentions weak growth and low inflation for the decline in bond prices. I would add the demographic aging of the world population as also one cause. As folks get older they spend less and try to conserve capital bynmoving from risk assets to bonds and bond substitutes. This aging is ramping up. Seniors are buying bonds, which paradoxically hurts their need for interest and dividends. However, that may be, it is about supply and demand, the governments do not want our money! Or they don’t want to pay for it! As the populations continue to age, interest rates will continue to decline and the Fed. reserve banks around the world will be lowering interest rates. Ours to! It is just a matter of time.
As a matter of policy, if I was the Pres, I would focus on the youth and family formation. If you have three kids - no taxes for twenty years or some such. I would help with student loans as well.
All the senior citizens I know are doing just fine, thus my focus is on the youth. Hope this helps.