yield curve

(redirected from Term spreads)

Yield curve

The graphic depiction of the relationship between the yield on bonds of the same credit quality but different maturities. Related: Term structure of interest rates. Harvey (1991) finds that the inversions of the yield curve (short-term rates greater than long term rates) have preceded the last five US recessions. The yield curve can accurately forecast the turning points of the business cycle.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.

Yield Curve

A representation on a chart of the yields on bonds with identical credit ratings but different maturities. On the yield curve, the maturities are represented on the x-axis, and the yield is represented on the y-axis. That is, if the yield curve trends upward, it indicates that interest rates for long-term debt securities are higher than short-term debt securities; this is called a normal yield curve. A negative yield curve indicates that interest rates for short-term debt securities are higher, and a flat yield curve indicates that they are roughly the same. Yield curves are most commonly plotted with U.S. Treasuries with different maturities; this is used to predict future trends in interest rates.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

yield curve

At any particular time, the relation between bond yields and maturity lengths. The yield curve usually has a positive slope because yields on long-term bonds generally exceed yields on short-term bonds. The shape of a yield curve is influenced by a number of factors including the relative riskiness between long-term and short-term securities and by investors' expectations as to the level of future interest rates. Also called term structure of interest rates. See also expectations hypothesis, flat yield curve, negative yield curve, positive yield curve, riding the yield curve.
Case Study Long-term interest rates are generally higher than short-term rates, resulting in a yield curve that slopes upward. An upward-sloping yield curve was in place in fall 2001 when six-month Treasury bills were yielding 2% at the same time that 30-year Treasury bonds were selling to yield slightly over 5%. Despite the relatively steep slope of the curve, many bond traders were convinced the slope would grow even steeper. That is, they believed short-term interest rates would continue to fall at the same time long-term rates remained steady or moved upward. The Federal Reserve was actively pursuing an easy money policy to stimulate a weakening economy. The September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon accelerated the economic decline with major corporate layoffs, reductions in industrial output, and increased business bankruptcies. The attack also made it likely that the U.S. Treasury would increase spending, thereby borrowing more and selling more Treasury bonds. The increased borrowing would result in higher long-term interest rates and reduced prices for Treasury bonds. At least, that was the theory. In this environment many bond traders decided to take an investment position that allowed them to profit from a steeper yield curve. Traders took a bullish position (bought) in short-term Treasuries they thought would increase in price, and at the same time they assumed a bearish position (sold) in long-term Treasuries they thought would decline in price. This investment strategy came tumbling down on October 31, when the U.S. Treasury made a surprise announcement that it would quit selling 30-year bonds. The announcement caused a major price increase in these bonds that in a two-day period reduced yields from 5.25% to about 4.8%. What seemed a sure thing among sophisticated investors turned into a nightmare as a bearish bet on long-term Treasuries went bad for a reason none of the participants had foreseen.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.

Yield curve.

A yield curve shows the relationship between the yields on short-term and long-term bonds of the same investment quality.

Since long-term yields are characteristically higher than short-term yields, a yield curve that confirms that expectation is described as positive. In contrast, a negative yield curve occurs when short-term yields are higher.

A flat or level yield curve occurs when the yields are substantially the same on bonds with varying terms.

A negative yield curve has generally been considered a warning sign that the economy is slowing and that a recession is likely.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

yield curve

a line that traces the relationship between the rates of return on BONDS of different maturities. The slope of the line suggests whether INTEREST RATES are tending to rise or fall.
Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Because the predicted values of the term spreads, the green lines, are positive both during and after the 1989:Q1 to 1989:Q2 yield curve inversion, figure 3 indicates that professional forecasters failed to predict the 1989:Q1 to 1989:Q2 yield curve inversion at both a 2-quarter-ahead and 4-quarter-ahead horizons.
Term spreads now are fairly low, but are not yet in negative territory.
(2009) note that small stocks outperform large stocks during economic expansions and that both small and value stocks outperform large and growth stocks, respectively, when T-Bill rates are low and term spreads are high.
Although term spreads have narrowed already by virtue of the global flight to quality, they remain sizeable thus giving the Federal Open Market Committee plenty to go for.
The correlations between current GDP growth and future term spreads shown in the lower panel are negative and for the most part statistically significant for all three countries.
Besides term spreads (between different maturities of the same sort of bonds), one can look at risk spreads (between different bonds of the same maturity).
Moreover, the level of nominal interest rates and term spreads are high in times when inflation news are harder to interpret.
The term spreads between short- and long-term interest rates have narrowed since 2004, and have even turned negative in the UK and the US, as shown in figure 4.
19 Mishkin (1990a) also finds that in full sample regressions the coefficients that appear on term spreads are generally smaller in size than those in pre-1979 regressions.
When short-term Treasury yields are at zero, the long-maturity yields would have to go deep into negative-yield territory to create the same level of negative term spreads we have observed in the past before recessions.
Lopez-Salido et al add a third variable - term spreads between long-term and short-term Treasuries.
These variables include interest rates (either 10-year constant maturity Treasury rates or Baa rates), rate deciles (relative to historical rates), credit and term spreads, and price-earnings and market-to-book ratios, factors that indicate market growth.