Kamakura Releases 10 Year Monthly Forecast of U.S. Treasury Yields and Swap Spreads for August, 2011

New York - 16 August 2011

Honolulu-based Kamakura Corporation on Tuesday released its forecast for U.S. Treasury yields and interest rate swap spreads monthly for the next 10 years. The forecasted 1 month US Treasury bill rates decreased significantly with rates down as much as 90 basis points from the previous month.

The Kamakura forecast for August shows 1 month Treasury bill rates rising steadily to 4.494% in July 2021, down 75 basis points from the peak forecasted last month. The 10 year U.S. Treasury yield is projected to rise steadily to 4.833% on July 31, 2021, 59.6 basis points lower than forecasted last month. The negative 56 basis point spread between 30 year U.S. dollar interest rate swaps and U.S. Treasury yields reflects the blurring of credit quality between these two yield curves. The U.S. government had not been seen as risk free by the market for some time as evidenced by the negative spread, and 4 of the 19 panel banks that determine U.S. dollar libor are receiving significant government assistance and are, in effect, sovereign credits. For more on the panel members, see ww.bbalibor.com. The negative 30 year spread results in an implied negative spread between 1 month libor and 1 month U.S. Treasury yields (investment basis) beginning in 2015-2016 and again in 2019-2021.

Kamakura Chief Administrative Officer Martin Zorn said Tuesday, “The forward curve is reflective of uncertainty and weakening fundamentals as the debate over debt ceilings, spending and taxes in the U.S. played out in public view, the sovereign debt issues across Europe continued, and the return of volatility resulted in flight to quality as investors avoided risky assets.“

The negative spread between interest rate swaps and US Treasuries implies a period of negative spreads between the Libor-swap curve and Treasuries and dramatic spread gyrations around mid-2012, as shown in this graph. This distortion comes about because the Libor Swap curve has two components with dramatically different credit risk. The short term rates are from the Libor market where in theory market participants can lose 100% of credit extended to banks. In the swap market, however, losses can be no more than the difference in the net present value of the swap between the origination date and the default date.

The full text of the Kamakura forecast for U.S. Treasury yields and interest rate swap spreads is available each Friday afternoon on the Kamakura blog.

The Kamakura interest rate forecasts are based on the forward interest rates embedded in the current U.S. Treasury yield curve and in the interest rate swap curve. These forward rates are extracted using the maximum smoothness forward rate approach first published by Kamakura’s Donald R. van Deventer and Kenneth Adams in 1994 and modified in Financial Risk Analytics (1996) by Kamakura’s Imai and van Deventer. The maximum smoothness approach is applied directly to forward rates in the case of U.S. Treasury yields and it is applied to forward credit spreads, relative to the U.S. Treasury curve, in the case of the swap curve.

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