But for the sake of argument, suppose shorter-term yields also rise by 50 basis points by the end of 2020. Even then, two-year Treasuries would still post a positive return of 1.23%. Five-year Treasuries would be flat. The 10-year benchmark would have a negative 1.9% total return. And based on the composition of the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Treasury Index, this sort of scenario would spell a loss of about 1%.

Maybe you consider a 1% overall loss a baby bear market. It would be the first annual decline since 2013, after all. What I see is a Treasury market that’s up about 10% in 2019 and probably due for a pullback. The index has had a negative total return in just four years dating back to 1973. In three of those four instances, it posted a double-digit gain during the previous year, as it might do in 2019. In other words, it’s not uncommon for bonds to take a breather after a relentless rally, particularly after a year like this one, when 30-year yields fell to an unprecedented low.

It’s possible that as more Wall Street forecasts come in, other strategists will make the case for a more sizable and prolonged bond sell-off. But I’m not so sure, judging from early reports like this one from NatWest Markets strategists led by John Briggs:

“Just about every year, we lay out a list of both upside and downside risks to the rate outlook. This year, we are struggling to come up with strong upside risks. Moreover, even if upside rate risks were realized ... we think the magnitude of the sell-off would be relatively muted. Thus the amount yields may rise in that equilibrium is less than the potential amount yields can fall in any of our downside risk scenarios, of which there are many. In sum, in a best case scenario we think yields have limited room to rise but in the more severe downside risk scenario, yields can fall substantially.”

For what it’s worth, NatWest is hardly a perma-bull on Treasuries. As for Goldman, it has tended to be more hawkish and have more optimistic U.S. growth forecasts than its peers. For instance, as of early December 2018, it was still calling for four Fed rate increases this year. In a Nov. 20 report, strategists led by Jan Hatzius predicted real U.S. gross domestic product growth of 2.3% and 2.4% in 2020 and 2021, respectively, compared with the consensus estimates of 1.8% and 1.9%.

In any case, this isn’t the backdrop for a reckoning in Treasuries. Not even a “baby” one. 

Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.

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