Both the press statement and the minutes from the December FOMC meeting make the end of the Fed’s asset purchase program pretty clear: the official “taper and cease” program is conditional upon the economy attaining “substantial further progress toward the Committee's maximum employment and price stability goals.”
The latest December employment report fits quite well with MUFG’s U.S. Rates Strategist, John Herrmann's view that the U.S. economy is on track to attain: (a) a complete recovery to the aggregate level of real GDP by mid-summer 2021, (b) full year growth of +5.7% YoY in 2021, (c) a +4.2% U3 unemployment rate by year-end 2021 and (d) the economy adding a net +6.1 million new jobs by year-end 2021.
By the end of the 3rd Quarter 2021, and possibly sooner, most investors are likely to believe that an official “taper and cease” announcement may occur prior to the end of the year. Unlike in 2013, however, we believe that most investors will not wait until the FOMC unveils an official “taper and cease” announcement to invest and trade it. Hence, our core strategic investment stance remains a 2s-30s Treasury yield curve steepener. Investors desirous of a little extra optionality from, say, mortgage convexity selling in the spring and a little extra juice, may consider a 2s-10s Treasury yield curve steepener, we believe.
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