It’s in part why the Bank of Japan tinkered with its loose monetary policy in a bid to steepen the yield curve in September 2016. Yet the yield curve argument is popular because it conforms with the understanding of how banks make money.   and its shorter-term peers were negative. The short rate is closer to zero and is insignificant for most countries, apart from Italy and Spain. It is worth noting that we wouldn’t expect this theoretical relationship, between the slope of the yield curve and NIMs, to hold perfectly in the real world. Stemming from this understanding of maturity and liquidity transformation Bill English  observes that this intuitive positive relationship has been the conventional wisdom for some time. So if the yield curve steepens, bank profits should rise. As banks seek to borrow money at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, a steepening yield curve will earn more on lending and pay less on deposits, thereby leading to a wider spread. A look at the price chart shows that banks got trapped in a range as the yield curve flattened. What do these findings tell us about the past and the future? A steeper yield curve is one of the last remaining market disciplines enforced on governments that may start to believe they can borrow near infinite amounts without penalty. Bank Underground is a blog for Bank of England staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies. As part of its corporate update, Moderna said it had about $5.2 billion in cash as of Dec. 31, compared to the $1.2 billion in cash it had at the same time a year ago, and it expects to generate at least $11.7 billion in revenue in 2021 for its COVID-19 vaccine based on advance purchase agreements. But the researchers at the U.K. central bank found a steepening yield curve was, in fact, more closely linked to a fall in the net interest margins, although the U.S. was the one exception to that rule (see chart lower). Post was not sent - check your email addresses! The logic being “depositors are generally willing to sacrifice returns because they value the liquidity of holding their money in cash rather than in an illiquid investment,” the researchers said. This follows the success of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which is one of two vaccines to be authorized so far in the U.S. CEO Moderna also said it plans to expand its respiratory syncytial virus to include older adults, and it plans to test different vaccine combinations that fight the flu, COVID-19, RSV, and human metapneumovirus. Market Overview Analysis by Sober Look covering: BP PLC, Total SA, SIMPLE SA. The bank … Summary. In this post, we present cross-country evidence that challenges this view. And the flattening of the yield curve … This reflects an attempt to widen the scope of economic debate, by increasing the potential for links between business economists and those working in other fields, notably the academic and government sectors. The final observation. The conventional wisdom follows from  banks’ fundamental business model— to act as maturity transformers by borrowing short term (e.g. A challenge to the conventional wisdom, Montagu Norman and the transformation of the Bank, There’s more to house prices than interest rates, Global real interest rates since 1311: Renaissance roots and rapid reversals. Figure 1 illustrates this with the aid of a stylised yield curve. Also, OCBC's New CEO, CDL Shares And Signal and ninety-nine more episodes by Interviews, free! But notice in the top chart above that the relative strength ratio peaks at the same time as the 10-2 spread. This could reflect changing bank business models or simply the shifting composition of securities on a bank’s balance sheet, they said. The title of one of my professional bodies has very recently changed to The Society of Professional Economists. A steeper yield curve promises improved interest margins for banks, prompting strong gains for financial stocks. The long rate has a higher coefficient and is statistically significant for most countries. 3. Copyright © 2021 MarketWatch, Inc. All rights reserved. Read Sober Look's latest article on Investing.com If the structure of their balance sheets changes, so too might these results. From this we conclude that, when it comes to interest rates, the long-term interest rate (unlike the short-term interest rate and the slope of yield curve) has a substantial positive impact on bank NIMs. Yes, banks outperformed the S&P 500 by 82 percentage points from 2000 to 2004 and by 73 points from 1980 to 1986, periods when the yield curve was steepening. 2. While an inverted yield curve has frequently been a harbinger of a recession, sending stock investors running for the hills, a steepening yield curve can signify the opposite, which is good … TMBMKJP-10Y, The graph is plotted with … We find that the long rate is more important than the short rate in determining NIMs in a very simple regression model. The paper makes reference to banks. Using data for a panel of 10 countries over four decades, we find no systematic positive relationship between the slope of the yield curve and bank net interest margins. That’s why stock analysts say financial shares 2020 hindsight: what can supervisors learn from the collapse of Barings Bank 25 years on. The yield curve, a line tracing yields across bond maturities, measures the difference between long-term interest rates, such as the two-year Treasury note The views expressed here are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the. Are you saying that the yield curve will steepen without the LT rate going up? Another important factor is prudential policy – notably the requirement to maintain an adequate level of liquidity. XLF, Such an environment is normally associated with a slowdown in the level of UK business activity, in response to both actual and anticipated monetary policy tightening. TMUBMUSD02Y, These changes no doubt will have some impact on the slope of the yield curve and its relationship with NIMs, but those are beyond the scope of this article. Likely too early to expect a bottom on the S&P 500. Our results suggest that it is the level of long-term interest rates, rather than the slope of the yield curve, that drives banks’ NIMs. But even this latter relationship has weakened since the global financial crisis. From a bank profitability viewpoint, the slope of the yield curve can often be a more significant, longer term, than the level of long -term rates. Central bankers may not want to revamp their playbook, though. Sources: World Bank, OECD, SNL and authors calculations. The yield curve is a graph showing the bond yields of various maturities ranging from 3-month T-bills to 30-year T-bonds. To refresh, the "yield curve" I use is the difference between the 10-year Treasury bond yield and the 2-year Treasury bond yield. In its vision for key global 2021 investment themes, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sees the U.S. yield curve steepening -- for nominal as well as real rates. Table 1: For most countries a steepening of the yield curve has historically been associated with a fall in the net interest margin, while higher long rates with an increase. In other words, only medium term rates will change? This post was written whilst Oliver Brenman was working in the Bank’s Policy and Strategy Division. The conventional wisdom amongst financial market observers, academics, and journalists is that a steeper yield curve should be good news for bank profitability. Many banks hedge long term interest rate exposure, thus matching their variable rate liabilities with variable rate assets (fixed interest assets hedged by interest rate swaps or more sophisticated hedging mechanisms). While, for the most part, higher long-term rates have juiced earnings. +0.32% This activity is typically profitable as short-term interest rates are usually lower than long- term interest rates.  can live or die by the curve’s fluctuations. “A steeper yield curve is unequivocally good for banks,” said Doug Foreman, chief investment officer at Kayne Anderson … the interest they pay to savers. If you want to get in touch, please email us at bankunderground@bankofengland.co.uk or leave a comment below. 4. This finding helps to explain why an upwards parallel shift in the yield curve is good for net interest margins (because while the slope does not change the long rate goes up). There have also been a number of occasions when political factors have impacted on long term UK interest rates – both short term fears and longer term UK political / geopolitical risks. The argument goes that because banks borrow short and lend long, a steeper yield curve would raise the wedge between rates paid on liabilities and received on assets – the so-called “net interest margin” (or NIM).   and the 10-year note Long term rates probably have a smaller impact on bank profitability than the consensus view. Sources: World Bank, OECD, SNL and Bank calculations. For example, NIMs also reflect the rewards banks collect for bearing different types of risk (e.g. Understanding Curve Steepener Trades . Even as longer-term Treasury yields plummeted as investors focused on the return of principal (as opposed to return on principal), the Federal Funds rate dropping by 150 basis points led to a steepening of the yield curve. Figure 3 shows that while that relationship held in the UK prior to the financial crisis, it appears to have broken down since – as the NIM has flattened out in recent years, despite the continued fall in the long rate. The yield curve’s beneficial impact on bank margins passes for conventional wisdom, the researchers said. A steeper yield curve is good for banks Banks typically borrow short term and lend longer term, which results in maturity transformation. “In the short term, banks can outperform on the yield curve steepening that should accompany any further post-pandemic return-to-normal trade,” Chris Wood noted. Jumana Saleheen works in the Bank’s Financial Stability, Strategy and Risk Directorate. Figure 1: Illustration of maturity transformation. This is beyond the remit of this article. The yield … This initiative may well enhance the links between the Bank of England and business sector economists – especially given that former BOE Deputy Governor, Professor Charles Bean, is a Deputy President of the enhanced professional body. Shares of Moderna Inc. undefined were up 1.3% in premarket trading on Monday after the company said it plans to launch new development programs using its mRNA technology that will focus on developing vaccines for seasonal flu, HIV, and the Nipah virus. Bank profitability tends to increase after the yield curve peaks – as the curve gradually flattens. Motivated by this discovery, we sought to inspect how the individual components of the slope of the yield curve (the short and long rate) affect NIMs. A steeper yield curve is a bank investor’s new best friend - The Globe and Mail A steeper yield curve is a bank investor’s new best friend David Berman Investment Reporter Published … After the financial crisis, the link between higher long-term interest rates and strong bank earnings appeared to break down, the researchers said. 0.148% The yield curve’s beneficial impact on bank margins passes for conventional wisdom, the researchers said. But they also … The report he cites … Michelle Martin and Ryan Huang discuss the steepening US yield curve, renewed interest in Singapore banks, OCBC appoints a woman CEO, CDL's shares, Apple, Google and Amazon, stimulus in the US and … This would give relief to banks suffering from the weight of low interest rates in the hope that stronger banking activity would stimulate the broader economy. One penultimate observation. from deposit accounts) and lending long term (e.g. The conventional wisdom amongst financial market observers, academics, and journalists is that a steeper yield curve should be good news for bank profitability. Indeed Table 1 (below) shows that this negative relationship arises in all countries in our sample bar the US, a point observed by a Liberty Street Economics blog post. In light of this caveat it is hard to say with certainty whether this observed relationship between long rates and NIMs will reinstate itself or not; it is too early to tell. Yield Curve Steepened Now Since banks borrow money at short-term rates and lend capital at long-term rates, steepening of the yield curve bodes well for bank ETFs. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial markets experienced almost unprecedented levels of volatility during the month of March. However, a very simple plot of the slope of the yield curve and the NIM does not deliver a positive relationship (Figure 2). Figure 3: UK banks’ net interest margins and the long-term interest rate have historically moved closely together but the relationship appears to have weakened post financial crisis. The long rate in many economies has fallen gradually over time since the late 1980s. It’s a widely held belief among policy makers and investors that banks benefit from a steeper yield curve by taking advantage of the spread between short- and long-term interest rates. Firstly, it is encouraging, from a prudential viewpoint, to read that the Bank of England is conducting in depth research into the impact of a steeper yield curve. As banks seek to borrow money at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, a steepening yield curve will earn more on lending and pay less on deposits, thereby leading to a wider … The secular bond bear market starting from 1980 saw long-term bond yields fall across the globe but net interest margins stabilized after the 2007-2009 recession. Comments will only appear once approved by a moderator, and are only published where a full name is supplied. This may be because of the large macroeconomic and financial shocks that affected banks, or because banks have changed their business models and the structure of their balance sheets. A very steep yield is normally associated with an eventual significant slowdown in the economy, as the monetary authorities aggressively tighten monetary policy. So it is really a steepening yield curve that is good for small cap outperformance, not just a steep one. "In the short term, banks can outperform on the yield curve steepening that should accompany any further post-pandemic return-to-normal trade," Chris Wood noted. This will expand net margins and increase banks profits. Bank Underground is a blog for Bank of England staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies. No signup … The paper raises a number of important points, and the following observations may be of relevance. Frank Eich works in the Bank’s International Surveillance Division. So a steep yield curve is the most profitable condition for them. To push the spread toward positive territory, the central bank promised to keep the 10-year Japanese government bond yield at zero. Sunny Oh is a MarketWatch fixed-income reporter based in New York. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. on the loans they make — minus the interest they pay out on their liabilities – e.g. When the yield curve is steep, banks are able to borrow money at lower interest rates and lend at higher interest rates. Similar principles apply to building societies and many other financial intermediaries. Figure 2: Simple plot of the slope of the yield curve and average bank NIMs in the United Kingdom. Sources: World Bank, OECD, SNL database and Bank calculations. Banks “focused instead on the greater likelihood of Congress approving a big spending package to limit the economic pain from the pandemic, as well as a steepening yield curve, meaning a … It is worth remembering that the results are driven by the average maturity and composition of assets and liabilities of bank balance sheets. Even with the Federal Reserve expected to keep interest rates low, the yield curve has been steepening as investors try to look beyond the pandemic. TMUBMUSD10Y, Overall though, we find that a steepening of the yield curve is generally associated with a fall in the NIM (Table 1). For example, NIMs capture much more than just the gains of maturity transformation. This isn’t just a UK phenomenon — NIMs in other countries have remained relatively stable since the global financial crisis too, despite falling long-term interest rates in these economies (Figure 4). We find no systematic positive relationship between the slope of the yield curve and NIMs. Meanwhile, the slope of the yield curve is defined as the difference between the long-term interest rate (10 year government bond) and a short-term rate. 0.039% If not, then how can the yield curve steepen without LT rates going up? As long-term rates tend to sit higher than their short-term peers, banks take advantage of the difference by lending “long” and borrowing “short” (see chart lower). Equities tend to trend downward for first half of yield curve steepening. Oliver Brenman, Frank Eich, and Jumana Saleheen. credit risk). 1.153%. In my lengthy experience of treasury management, international factors (especially the consensus forecast path of the US and Chinese economies) are significant drivers of longer-term sterling fixed interest rates. Instead, we find that long-term interest rate tend to drive bank margins. Yield Curve Steepened Now Since banks borrow money at short-term rates and lend capital at long-term rates, steepening of the yield curve bodes well for bank ETFs. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Is a steeper yield curve good news for banks? This suggests there is much uncertainty about the future relationship between interest rates and bank profitability. Moderna's stock has soared 489.1% over the last year, while the S&P 500 undefined is up 19.7%. Some central banks, such as the Fed and the Bank of England, have started the tightening phase of monetary policy, which has been associated with a steepening of the yield curve. It provides a clear, visual image of long-term versus short-term bonds at various points in time. “We believe the continued weakness of … Figure 4: Post crisis bank net interest margins have remained remarkably stable, despite significant falls in interest rates. This reflects the fact that depositors are generally willing to sacrifice returns because they value the liquidity of holding their money in cash rather than in an illiquid investment. Our simple empirical results suggest that there would be a corresponding fall in bank NIMs. Fed yield curve control: More false optimism. See: Bank earnings will be ‘mixed’ and ‘messy’—but there’s some good news. A key factor is financial market rationale for both a steeper yield curve and a higher level of long- term rates. A steeper yield curve is good for banks Banks typically borrow short term and lend longer term, which results in maturity transformation. A rise in long- term rates is good for banks short term, due to the factors referred to in the paper. That creates the possibility of the yield curve steepening at the very same time banks attempt to break out of their range. through mortgages or loans to companies). Given this, bank … Member, Association of Corporate Treasurers; Member, Society of Professional Economists, Independent Economic and Treasury Advisor. But new research from the Bank of England shows it isn’t the slope of the yield curve as much as long-term rates on government bonds that dictates a bank’s net interest margins, a key driver of their profitability. 1. The impact of these factors diminishes as the economy slows in response to significant monetary tightening. The commonly held view is that such a steepening of the yield curve should be unequivocally good news for bank profitability because it raises banks’ net interest margins. In the example, a bank issues a loan at 3.5%, matched with bank deposits of shorter maturities offering an interest rate of 1%. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the Bank of England, or its policy committees. Back then, the spread between the 10-year yield A yield curve is simply the yield of each bond along a maturity spectrum that's plotted on a graph. The argument goes that because banks borrow short and lend long, a steeper yield curve … Instead, the slope goes the wrong way – it is negative for the UK confirmed by a simple regression – suggesting that an increase in the slope of the yield curve lowers the NIM. Listen to What Does A Steepening Yield Curve Mean And How Do Investors Generally Interpret It? Oliver Brenman, Frank Eich, and Jumana Saleheen. It is worth noting that in recent decades the countries in our sample have been through large economic, structural and policy changes, such as the introduction of inflation targeting, and changes in competition, financial liberalisation and regulation. "The uniquely challenging year of 2020 for all of society proved to be an extraordinary proof-of-concept period for Moderna," CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a news release. In this environment, the level of mainstream business activity steadily increases, whilst a competent bank treasury should make significant profit from prudent investment in long dated fixed rate bonds (normally high grade government or corporate bonds). This article challenges that conventional wisdom. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick turns down Trump medal: report, Bank earnings will be ‘mixed’ and ‘messy’—but there’s some good news, Moderna to develop vaccine candidates for seasonal flu, HIV, Nio to offer $1.3 billion in convertible notes, Pence and Trump spoke Monday evening for first time since Capitol riot, White House official says, Why an Elon Musk tweet led to a 5,675% surge in Signal Advance’s stock, What investors should know about the cannabis market in 2021, Walt Disney World is eliminating these popular perks for hotel guests. In this scenario of a slowing economy, aggregate demand for bank loans – and hence bank profitability, diminishes. The benchmark 10-year yield US10YT=RR, which climbed as high as 1.125% for the first time since March, was last up 4.4 basis points at 1.1153% and the yield curve steepened. JPMorgan Chase & Co., in its latest quarterly filing, said a steeper yield curve would boost interest income by $1.7 billion while a flatter one would lead to a $2 billion increase. If the long rate rose to 5%, it would steepen the yield curve, increase the interest rate spread between lending and borrowing, and increase the NIMs. Net interest margins are calculated as the interest banks earn on their assets—e.g. The net interest margin is the difference between the interest banks earn on the loans they make and the interest they pay to savers. Longer term sterling rates are determined by a number of factors, notably the expected path of sterling bank rate, and the expected path of the both the UK and global economy (and hence fund manager asset allocation between fixed interest securities and equities / other investments). S fluctuations the bond yields of various maturities ranging from 3-month T-bills to 30-year.! 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