Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, told CNBC on Friday that he believes the recent decline in U.S. bond yields doesn’t reflect market fundamentals but instead a transient flight to safer assets in the wake of the coronavirus in Asia.
“I just think, in general, I would be very careful to put too much emphasis on what bond rates are doing, what interest rates are doing. Or even in the short, short run, the stock market,” he said. “I think you have a lot of mood swings here and I don’t think it reflects the fundamentals.”
Kudlow’s comments came as the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond fell to an all-time low under 1.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 285 points, slightly less than 1%.
Though traders widely blamed the coronavirus for Friday’s risk-off pivot, some suggested the record low on the 30-year bond represents a longer-term view that economic growth could be slowing and that the Federal Reserve may not be equipped to remedy a slowdown.
“The fixed income market, usually the world’s greatest pessimist, tends to look way out in the future when pricing the current market,” wrote Raymond James rates strategist Kevin Giddis. “It is looking far ahead to the negative effects that the virus could have on the U.S. economy, which could force the Fed in, kicking and screaming.”
But Kudlow countered that the stock market’s strong gains over the last 12 months are a sign of “business and consumer confidence” and that corporate conditions could remain healthy throughout 2020.
“In the three years under policies of lower tax rates, deregulation, independent energy and better trade deals to open up an export boom, we have managed a 2.5% growth rate on average,” he said. “That is significantly better than the prior administration. It is also significantly better than what the CBO has forecasted.”
“America is working and there is a blue-collar boom,” he continued. “This a fundamentally very sound economy.”
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