“Global bond markets posted their biggest monthly losses in nine years in May as the U.S. dollarrallied and stocks reached record highs amid speculation a strengthening U.S. economy will allow the Federal Reserve to reduce its monetary stimulus.
The over $40 trillion of bonds in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index fell 1.5 percent on average, led by a 2 percent drop in Treasuries. The MSCI World Index lost 0.3 percent while the Standard & Poor’s 500 reached a record high. The U.S. Dollar Index jumped 2 percent as the greenback gained versus all its major peers. The S&P GSCI Total Return Index of metals, fuels and agricultural products dropped 1.5 percent a month after falling the most since May 2012.
Employment gains and increases in housing and consumer confidence suggested the recovery in the U.S. economy, the world’s largest, is gaining momentum, prompting traders to increase bets the Fed will scale back its $85 billion in monthly debt purchases later this year. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts faster global economic growth, led by the U.S. and Japan.
“Investors’ attempt to access what the Fed will do with its bond-buying program has been pretty central to the performance of all asset classes,” Neil Mackinnon, a global macro strategist at VTB Capital Plc in London, said May 30 in a telephone interview. “The markets are very sensitive to the idea that the Fed might ease back on their debt purchases.”