DP15978 What Moves Treasury Yields?

Author(s): Emanuel Moench, Soroosh Soofi Siavash
Publication Date: March 2021
Keyword(s): Dynamic factor models, factor-augmented vector autoregressions, news shocks, structural vector autoregressions, Term Structure of Interest Rates, Uncertainty shocks, yield curve
JEL(s): C55, E43, E44, G12
Programme Areas: Financial Economics, Monetary Economics and Fluctuations
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15978

We characterize the joint dynamics of a large number of macroeconomic variables and Treasury yields in a dynamic factor model. We use this framework to identify a yield curve news shock as an innovation that does not move yields contemporaneously but explains a maximum share of the forecast error variance of yields over the next year. This shock explains more than half, and along with contemporaneous shocks to the level and slope of the yield curve, essentially all of the variation of Treasury yields several years out. The news shock is associated with a sharp and persistent increase in implied stock and bond market volatility, falling stock prices, an uptick in term premiums, and a prolonged decline of real activity and inflation. The accommodative response by the Federal Reserve leads to persistently lower expected and actual short rates. Treasury yields do not react contemporaneously to the yield curve news shock as the positive response of term premiums and the negative response of expected short rates initially offset each other. Identified shocks to realized and implied financial market volatility imply essentially the same impulse responses and are highly correlated with the yield news shock, suggesting that they act as unspanned or hidden factors in the yield curve.