* U.S. Treasury to slow increases in issuance
* U.S. breakevens fall as markets prices smaller relief package (Adds analyst quotes, repo and CP details)
NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Spreads on 10-year U.S. interest rate swaps over Treasuries widened over concerns that the election will result in a split Congress and could mean a smaller stimulus package to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. presidential election hung in the balance on Wednesday, with Democrat Joe Biden leading in two critical Midwestern states that could tip the contest in his favor over Republican President Donald Trump. But emerging results from down-ballot races pointed to Republicans maintaining a majority in the Senate..
Spreads of interest rate swaps are typically viewed as indicators of market risk. A higher positive spread suggests market participants are willing to swap their risk exposures, suggesting overall risk aversion.
“Spreads are wider due to expectations of lower deficits, the potential for a split government, or even a status quo government because Donald Trump can still win the presidential race,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior rates strategist at TD Securities in New York.
“This suggests that the stimulus deal is likely to be smaller than larger. Less supply means more demand for Treasuries,” he added.
Long-dated U.S. Treasury prices rose, with yields falling from five-month highs, as concerns of prolonged election uncertainty have cast doubt over a much-needed spending package.
Spreads also widened after the U.S. Treasury said on Wednesday at its refunding announcement that it is slowing increases in issuance. On Monday, the Treasury said it plans to borrow $617 billion in the fourth quarter, lower than the August estimate due to the department’s higher cash balance at the beginning of October. .
In afternoon trading, the spread on 10-year U.S. swaps over benchmark Treasuries rose to 2.25 basis points, from 0.5 basis point late on Tuesday.
U.S. 10-year swaps measure the cost of swapping fixed rate cash flows for floating rate ones over a 10-year term.
Meanwhile, U.S. inflation breakevens, the bond market’s gauge of investors’ inflation outlook, fell to its lowest since early October. The yield spread between 10-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or TIPS, and 10-year Treasury notes was 1.622%, the lowest since early October.
“Breakevens will very much move with risk,” TD’s Goldberg said. “If there is expectation of lower stimulus, that’s not good for breakevens.”
Elsewhere, rates in the commercial paper and repurchase agreement, or repo, markets showed little evidence of stress in spite of election uncertainty.
The intraday costs for companies to borrow short-term loans in the commercial paper market were within range of where they have been for the past week, according to Kevin Giddis, head of fixed income at Raymond James.
Overnight repo rates, the cost for dealers to borrow government securities overnight, rose modestly on Wednesday morning, according to Eikon. The rise in rates was consistent with a beginning-of-month trend, argued John Canavan an analyst at Oxford Economics.
“I don’t think that right now the broader uncertainty about the elections has had much of an impact.” (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Alexander Smith, Steve Orlofsky and Diane Craft)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.