What Is On-The-Run Treasury Yield Curve?
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What Is On-The-Run Treasury Yield Curve?

3 Min.

The on-the-run Treasury yield curve is a graph that displays the current yields of recently sold U.S. Treasury securities compared to their maturities. It is the primary benchmark used to price fixed-income securities. In contrast, the off-the-run Treasury yield curve refers to U.S. treasuries of a particular maturity that are not part of the latest issue. The on-the-run Treasury yield curve is less reliable than the off-the-run Treasury yield curve because the volatility of current demand for recent supply tends to lead to price distortions.

Basics

The Treasury yield curve in motion displays the latest yields and maturities of recently auctioned U.S. Treasury securities. It serves as the key pricing benchmark for fixed-income securities.

Deciphering the Dynamics of On-The-Run Treasury Yield Curve

The on-the-run Treasury yield curve, a vital financial metric, is crafted from on-the-run Treasuries. It charts the yields of these similar-grade instruments against their respective maturities. Contrarily, the off-the-run Treasury yield curve pertains to Treasuries of the same maturity but not part of the latest issuance. Volatility in current demand often distorts the on-the-run Treasury yield curve, rendering it somewhat less precise.

The significance of the on-the-run Treasury yield curve lies in its role in pricing fixed-income securities. Nevertheless, this curve's accuracy can be momentarily compromised when an on-the-run Treasury goes "on special." This transpires when its price surges due to heightened demand from securities dealers using it as a hedge. Consequently, on-the-run Treasury yield curves may deviate from their ideal accuracy.

The Treasury yield curve underscores two complexities in the interplay between maturity and yield:

  1. The yield for on-the-run issues is distorted because of favorable financing, resulting in lower outcomes compared to their unfunded counterparts.
  2. On-the-run and off-the-run Treasury issues entail differing interest rate reinvestment risks.

Yield Curve Dynamics

Yield curves take on distinct shapes, each reflecting market conditions and investor behavior. The typical on-the-run Treasury yield curve, known as a normal yield curve, slopes upwards as yields rise with increasing maturity. This shape results from supply and demand dynamics in specific curve segments. For instance, when an investment fund concentrates on 5- to 10-year securities, it can drive up prices and lower yields in that segment. High demand from short-term investors can steepen the yield curve.

An inverted yield curve, where short-term maturities carry higher interest rates than long-term ones, may occur due to central bank policies aimed at temporarily elevating short-term rates to curb economic growth. However, this inversion is usually considered a short-term anomaly, with expectations of a return to a flat or positive curve structure in the near future.

A flat yield curve, where short and long-term rates align closely, typically signifies a transitional phase. This transition occurs as interest rates shift from a positive yield curve to an inverted one or vice versa.

Conclusion

The Treasury yield curve, which is divided into two categories, namely on-the-run and off-the-run, is a significant benchmark for assessing fixed-income securities' prices. It displays the current yields in relation to maturities. The on-the-run Treasury yield curve deals with the most recent issuances, while the off-the-run Treasury yield curve deals with non-recent issuances. However, the on-the-run curve may be less precise due to volatile demand. 

On-The-Run Treasury Yield Curve
Off-The-Run Treasury Yield Curve
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