HOW MUCH HIGHER CAN TREASURY YIELDS GO?
We expect interest rates to move modestly higher in 2022 based on near-term inflation expectations above historical trends and improving growth expectations once the impact of COVID-19 variants recede. Our year-end 2022 forecast for the 10-year Treasury yield is 1.75–2.00%. An aging global demographic that needs income, higher global debt levels, and an ongoing bull market in equities may keep interest rates from going much higher.
What’s next for credit?
As interest rates increased during 2021, investment-grade corporate debt was negatively impacted as the sector, perhaps surprisingly, is among the most interest rate sensitive fixed income asset classes. U.S. high-yield investors, however, were rewarded for owning riskier debt. During the year, credit risk was rewarded as opposed to interest rate risk. As the economy transitions into mid-cycle, credit investors need to be more cognizant of downside risks. While the economy should still be conducive to credit risk and corporate balance sheets generally remain in good shape, credit spreads are among the lowest they’ve been in years, which means compensation for the added risk of corporates is low.