Tuesday, March 14, 2017

30 year bond rally is over

That 30-plus-year bull market, which began in August 1982, is over. It's hard to believe, but I was there at the beginning. I was there at the end of the previous bear market, and I was there at the beginning of this long, protracted bull market in bonds (or the long, protracted decline in interest rates). It's hard for me to make people remember, but in 1982, the 30-year bond had a coupon of 14.75%, and you couldn't give them away at the time. It was astonishing how bad the psychology was.

But since 1982, we've been in a 30-plus-year bull market; that bull market has ended. The trend is for higher interest rates, not lower. But you must also remember the bond market tends to move in multidecade, long-term trends. If we're in for 20, 30 or 40 years of higher rates, for the first 15 or 20 years, we'll see rates go up very slowly, and very marginally.

It's at the end of this next bear market―the last quarter―that rates will go up the fastest and prices of bonds will fall the most dramatically. So while interest rates are going higher, there's no reason to be panicky about that right now.