United States: the inversion of the yield curve is fearing a recession

Due to the worsening trade war between the United States and China, the risks of a global recession are increasing. They are aggravated further by the fear of a hard Brexit, by the first signs of recession in Europe and by the crisis ...


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The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. © RFI / Ariane Gaffuri

Due to the worsening trade war between the United States and China, the risks of a global recession are increasing. They are further aggravated by the fear of a hard Brexit, by the first signs of recession in Europe and by the political crisis in Italy which weakens the euro. All these factors cause an aberrant situation known as inversion of the yield curve. The United States notes this phenomenon on Wednesday, August 14 with interest rates 2 years higher than 10-year rates. The return of this phenomenon, often a harbinger of recession, creates a vicious circle of pessimism.

With our correspondent in Washington, Pierre-Yves Dugua

A normal interest rate curve reflects the normal desire of savers to collect more when their savings cover a longer period than when they are hired for only a few months.

When the curve reverses, it is a reflection of extreme pessimism that makes investors accept to be very low pay in the medium and long term, because they are convinced that in the medium and long term a recession lasts goes crack.

For 50 years in the United States each time the 2-year rates have exceeded the 10-year rates, a few months later, a recession has started.

The return of this phenomenon is scary not because it causes a recession, but because it reflects a pessimism such as it regularly generates a recession.

To reassure, some argue that the anomaly also reflects, at least in part, the policy of central banks in Europe and Japan where negative rates are pushing investors to US bonds, which makes them fall in yields.

See also: Trump demands Fed to reduce rates "faster and stronger"

ref: rfi