Have interest rates peaked? The strength exhibited in the bond markets indicate that a great many people feel that the economy is headed into a recession and that interest rates have seen their highs for this cycle.
Indeed, the performance in the markets was awesome. New corporate, municipal and agency issues were snapped up with a vengeance. Long Treasuries were purchased eagerly as rising prices drove the long rates lower.
This current rally, now in its third week, is the strongest showing since the July-August rally in 1978.
However, many market participants still have their doubts about rates peaking. But many of the players have moved a portion of their cash positions into the long market just in case it is the real thing.
The Treasury increased the rate of interest being paid on approximately $81 billion in U.S. Savings Bonds from 6 percent to 6 1/2 percent effective June 1. It would be helpful to review the other new changes that will occur.
Commencing Jan. 2, 1980, E and H series savings bonds will be replaced by a new EE and HH series.
Like the E series, the new EE series also will be sold on a discount basis with the interest payable at maturity. A holder will be able to double the value of his or her purchase if the issue is held to maturity. With the new interest rate of 6 1/2 percent, the EE bonds will mature in 11 years.
The minimum-denomination $50 bond will be purchased at $25. If necessary, this issue first will be redeemable six months after purchase (formerly 2 months). The limit to the amount an individual might purchase in one year will be doubled to $15,000 cash value ($30,000 face value.)
The holders of E bonds will not have a decision to make until mid-1981 when the first E bonds issued in 1941 begin to mature.