In the meantime 10y Bund and UST yields rose by approx. 20 and 30bp, respectively before coming back a bit over the past days.
In turn, I believe that the temporary setback I was talking about is behind us and expect yields to retreat again from here onwards and propose a tactical bond-bullish stance.
First, consensus for this year seems to be that there is only one way to go for bond yields during 2010, up. By now, however, this seems to be reflected in positioning. The chart below shows the risk-weighted net positioning by non-commercial accounts in the US 2y, 5y, 10y and 30y futures (I used the pvbp to aggregate the various futures contract and in turn, the positoning should reflect mln USD per basispoint in yield change). While in early December, positioning was neutral (following a long period of a short base), within a matter of only one month, net positions have moved back to a very significant short base. This has come about by a reduction in net longs in 2y and 5y futures and an increase in the shorts in 10y futures. Over the past 3 years only one week at the end of May had a more pronounced short position which was just before the 10y yields hit their intra-year high at the beginning of June.
Positioning in US bond futures are strongly tilted in favour of shorts
Also from a longer term perspective, the current positioning can be considered significant. The chart below shows the history since mid 2002 to cover the last rate hiking cycle/multi-year bond bear market between early 2003 and early 2007. When net shorts were of the magnitude they apparently are today, 10y UST yields tended to top out soon and fall back significantly even if only on a temporary basis. In turn, at present positioning gives a strong signal against the bond-bearish consensus!
The current level of short positions was historically soon followed by a drop in yields
Bund future: bullish trend was broken but upturn in stochastic gives a temporary buy signal
10y Bund yields vs. EStoxx and the CRB-index: back at fair-value
[I use the monthly data for population weighted heating degree days and cooling degree days for the US (they intend to measure the average energy needs for heating/cooling purposes and an overall number as well as the deviation from the "norm" is published). If the HDD days during winter are larger than the norm, then the winter is colder than is usually the case and accordingly a receiving position is initiated (and vice versa). Given that the weather for a specific month is only known at the end of that month, the position is opened at the start of the next month. This means that a colder-than-usual December triggers a long/receiving position for January. Given that most economic data is also released with a delay, this should fit the market impact.]
The chart below shows the development of the 10y USD swap rate together with the cumulative p&l of this simple trading rule. Over the past 11 years this trading rule shows a cumulative profit of more than 1000bp. This highlights that the weather indeed has a significant impact on short-term macro-economic and market developments.
Profitable trading rule suggests that the weather has indeed a significant impact on short-term market behaviour
Overall, I think that we should see yields falling back again in the weeks ahead especially due to a pronounced bond-bearish consensus/short positioning but also because the stronger-than-usual winter in the Northern Hemisphere might temporarily act as a headwind for the Western economies. In turn, I continue to propose tactic long positions in both 10y Bunds and 10y UST.