Part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve “inverted” this week, setting off debate over whether it is delivering a classic signal of oncoming recession or it has just developed a short-term kink that can be explained away by technical reasons.
To be sure, this week’s inversion has been limited so far to the front-end of the yield curve rather than more closely studied recession harbingers such as the gap between 2-year and 10-year note yields. In the current instance, yields on 5-year notes US5YT=RR have dropped below those on both 2-year US2YT=RR and 3-year US3YT=RR securities.
Still, in December 2005, for instance, a comparable inversion at the front of the curve was followed shortly afterward by an inversion between 2- and 10-year yields. The Great Recession began in December 2007.