Market-Based Indicators Of Inflation, Growth And Risk

Medium-term inflation expectations are muted, growth expectations are recovering slightly, and perceived risk seems contained.

Figure 1: Top panel: Five year inflation breakeven calculated as five year Treasury yield minus five year TIPS yield (blue), five year breakeven adjusted by inflation risk premium, and liquidity premium per DKW (red), all in %. Middle panel: 10 year-3 month Treasury spread (blue), 10 year-2 year Treasury spread (red), both in %. Bottom panel: VIX (teal, left scale), Economic Policy Uncertainty, 7-day centered moving average (salmon, right scale). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray (from beginning of month after peak month to end of trough month). Source: FRB via FRED, Treasury, KWW following D’amico, Kim and Wei (DKW) , FRED, policyuncertainty.com, NBER, and author’s calculations.

The top panel of Figure 1 shows that the standard breakeven for the 5-year horizon has stabilized; the adjusted for inflation risk premium/liquidity premium indicator was also stable at the end of August, indicating 1.18% inflation on average.

Expectations as proxied by term spreads suggest that growth trends bottomed out in mid-July, after peaking in mid-March. They’re now rising slightly over the last two weeks.

Finally, a market based measure of risk (the VIX) has is relatively quiescent. So too is the newspaper account based Baker-Bloom-Davis measure of policy uncertainty. This is true despite the rising political uncertainty regarding passage of the reconciliation and infrastructure bills, and more importantly, the raising of the debt ceiling. Credit spreads have also failed (so far) to evidence much reaction:

Notes: The ICE BofA High Yield Option-Adjusted Spreads (OASs) are the calculated spreads between a computed OAS index of investment grade bonds BB and below, and a spot Treasury curve. Source: FRED, accessed 9/25/2021.

Disclosure: None.

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