The August slide in the 10-year Treasury note yield accelerated on Wednesday to new 2016 lows after China announced a weaker benchmark for its currency and a host of overseas central banks introduced aggressive interest rate cuts.
The yield on the German 10-year bund hit a new all-time low of -0.598% while the 30-year bund also hit a record at -0.137%.
At around 7:47 a.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was lower at around 1.655%, off a low of 1.645% hit earlier in the session, the note’s lowest level since Oct. 4, 2016. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond bottomed at 2.164%, its lowest since July 14, 2016.
Investors have been rushing into safer assets like U.S. government bonds since last week amid market concerns over U.S.-China relations. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield, which influences mortgages and other loans, fell to 1.66% during Asian trading — its lowest level since October 2016.
The increased appetite for bonds is also seen in the U.K. and Germany. The 10-year German Bund yield dropped further on Wednesday to -0.573%, while the U.K. 10-year gilts hit a record low of 0.489%.
China’s central bank set the official midpoint reference for the yuan at 6.9996 on Wednesday, slightly weaker than what markets anticipated. Beijing allows the yuan to trade within a narrow band of 2% from each day’s midpoint. Its level against the dollar is important given that the lower the currency, the cheaper Chinese products will be when exported.
This comes after the United States declared that China was a currency manipulator – a step that hadn’t been taken since the Clinton administration and escalated tensions among the two countries.
On the data front, there will be consumer credit figures out at 3 p.m. ET.
Traders will also monitor a speech by Chicago Fed President Charles Evans at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury is set to auction $27 billion in 10-year notes.
Central banks in India, New Zealand and Thailand surprised markets on Wednesday with aggressive cuts in rates.