Treasury yields rise after Fed says economy has strengthened

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield moved modestly higher on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed their plan to keep interest rates and asset purchases steady even as the economic recovery gains steam.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 1.648% shortly after 2 p.m. ET. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond climbed to 2.314%. Yields move inversely to prices.

The Federal Open Market Committee concluded its two-day meeting on Wednesday and said at 2 p.m. that it planned to hold its benchmark interest rate steady near zero. The 10-year yield briefly extended its gains following the announcement before slipping back below 1.65%.

“”Amid progress on vaccinations and strong policy support, indicators of economic activity and employment have strengthened,” the committee said in a statement.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET, which investors will be watching closely for any clues on the direction of policy.

Aaron Anderson, senior vice president of research at Fisher Investments, said on Wednesday that while the FOMC had consistently communicated its plans to stick to its current policies for a long time, expectations of higher interest rates and tapering of quantitative easing were on the rise.

“One of the Fed’s biggest challenges is to convince the market it means what it says, especially as base effects and supply-chain bottlenecks cause certain inflation data to tick temporarily higher,” he said.

“The market will be listening closely for any signs the Fed is wavering on its ultra-accommodative policies,” Anderson added.

Fed bank officials, including Powell, have said that they expect a temporary rise in inflation as the U.S. economy accelerates its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

An auction will be held Wednesday for $35 billion of 119-day bills.

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