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Only a Stocks Crash Can Rescue the Bond Market, Barclays Says

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(Bloomberg) — Global bonds are doomed to keep falling unless a sustained slump in equities revives the appeal of fixed-income assets, according to Barclays Plc.

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“There is no magic level of yields that, when reached, will automatically draw in enough buyers to spark a sustained bond rally,” analysts led by Ajay Rajadhyaksha wrote in a note. “In the short term, we can think of one scenario where bonds rally materially. If risk assets fall sharply in the coming weeks.”

The rout in Treasuries has sent shockwaves through the global bond market in recent months as investors position for borrowing costs to stay higher for longer. While the selloff abated on Wednesday, traders are on high alert for a resurgence in volatility — especially if US non-farm payrolls data on Friday come in stronger than expected.

The US central bank is unlikely to ease up on its so-called quantitative tightening program, which makes it a net seller of Treasuries, according to the Barclays analysts. Additionally, the increase in bond supply due to the rising deficit is also driving up the term premium, they said.

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Demand will be weak as net buying by foreign central banks slows, the analysts wrote. Japanese investors, the largest overseas holders of Treasuries, are likely to favor domestic debt as yields will rise when the Bank of Japan adjusts its accommodative policy stance.

All this means the bond market’s fate lies in the hands of stocks, according to Barclays. The 5% or so drop in the S&P 500 Index over the past three months is well short of what’s needed to trigger a rebound in fixed income, the analysts wrote.

“The magnitude of the bond selloff has been so stunning that stocks are arguably more expensive than a month ago, from a valuation standpoint,” they wrote. “We believe that the eventual path to bonds’ stabilizing lies through a further re-pricing lower of risk assets.”

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