October 2021 Economic Review

Debt Debate

Democrats and Republicans recently reached a deal to expand the U.S. government’s borrowing limit by $480 billion, supporting the Treasury Department’s cash needs until early December. While the market eventually found some relief after this latest round of last-minute Congressional brinkmanship, the short-term reprieve sets the stage for another heated debate in November.

In 2011, S&P Global Ratings famously downgraded the long-term credit of the U.S. government from ‘AAA’ to ‘AA+’ with similar concerns; due to the current standoff, Fitch Ratings has indicated it may follow suit. Longer-term implications aside, it would be best for all parties involved and overall financial conditions to have the debt ceiling issue resolved sooner than later.

Despite strong labor demand, the weaker-than-forecast September jobs report may indicate that COVID-19 concerns are restricting a return to the workforce. Nonfarm payrolls increased 194k in September, materially short of the market’s forecast of 500k. The unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, partly reflecting a decline in the labor force participation rate.

A softening of the labor market complicates the potential decision by the Federal Reserve to begin tapering its bond purchases before year-end. Surging energy prices and robust wage gains, however, have many investors doubting that inflation will prove to be short-term in nature. Additionally, the Fed’s primary gauge of inflation rose in August by the most in three decades on an annual basis. The Fed may ultimately decide to press forward with tapering in November, providing the cover to raise rates next year if needed.

Treasury Yields
Maturity 10/8/21 9/10/21 Change
3-Month 0.060% 0.038% 0.022%
6-Month 0.056% 0.046% 0.010%
1-Year 0.089% 0.066% 0.023%
2-Year 0.318% 0.213% 0.105%
3-Year 0.580% 0.443% 0.137%
5-Year 1.060% 0.816% 0.244%
10-Year 1.612% 1.341% 0.271%
30-Year 2.164% 1.934% 0.230%

Agency Yields
Maturity 10/8/21 9/10/21 Change
3-Month 0.044% 0.050% -0.006%
6-Month 0.055% 0.058% -0.003%
1-Year 0.088% 0.084% 0.004%
2-Year 0.316% 0.220% 0.096%
3-Year 0.601% 0.443% 0.158%
5-Year 1.061% 0.825% 0.236%
Commercial Paper Yields (A-1/P-1)
Maturity 10/8/21 9/10/21 Change
1-Month 0.080% 0.080% 0.000%
3-Month 0.100% 0.090% 0.010%
6-Month 0.140% 0.130% 0.010%
9-Month 0.160% 0.150% 0.010%
Current Economic Releases
Data Period Value
GDP QoQ Q2 ’21 6.70%
U.S. Unemployment Sept ’21 4.80%
ISM Manufacturing Sept ’21 61.10
PPI YoY Aug ’21 10.50%
CPI YoY Aug ’21 5.30%
Fed Funds Target October 12, 2021 0.00% – 0.25%

Source: Bloomberg
Data unaudited. Information is obtained from third party sources that may or may not be verified. Many factors affect performance including changes in market conditions and interest rates and in response to other economic, political, or financial developments. All comments and discussions presented are purely based on opinion and assumptions, not fact. These assumptions may or may not be correct based on foreseen and unforeseen events. The information presented should not be used in making any investment decisions. This material is not a recommendation to buy, sell, implement, or change any securities or investment strategy, function, or process. Any financial and/or investment decision should be made only after considerable research, consideration, and involvement with an experienced professional engaged for the specific purpose. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Any financial and/or investment decision may incur losses.