Treasury yields fall amid rising U.S.-China tensions and pandemic fears

Treasury yields fell on Wednesday as investors gravitated towards safer assets amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China as well as the concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was lower at 0.6036% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was down slightly at 1.3090%. Yields move inversely to prices.

The U.S. State Department abruptly ordered China to close its consulate in Houston. Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin condemned the action and warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse its decision. The closure comes as relations between the two largest world economies have deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a White House briefing Tuesday, President Donald Trump conceded that the coronavirus pandemic will probably “get worse before it gets better.” Trump adopted a more somber tone regarding the outlook for the pandemic in the U.S. than in recent weeks, having long downplayed the threat of the virus. 

Texas and Florida both reported record daily average deaths from Covid-19 on Monday based on a seven-day moving average, as hospitalizations continue to rise in 34 states. Confirmed cases nationwide are now nearing 3.9 million with 141,995 deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Republicans and Democrats remain at odds over the extent of the next round of coronavirus aid, with Congressional Democrats demanding more money and more details on a potential $1 trillion relief package after a meeting with White House advisers Tuesday.

Auctions will be held Wednesday for $25 billion of 105-day Treasury bills, $30 billion of 154-day bills and $17 billion of 20-year bonds.

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