Owen Morgan / April 5th, 2024

First Quarter 2024 Fixed Income Strategy Review

Recall that in last quarter of calendar 2023 the yield curve decreased markedly (and as you readers and investors know, when yields drop, bond prices rise). The resulting bond price rally that occurred was the strongest quarterly return performance by Canadian bonds in over 20 years. At the time, some believed there was a reasonably good chance interest rate cuts by the Canadian and US central banks might start as early as March 2024.

It would be difficult to repeat such a strong performance, as a result, the first quarter of 2024 always had a tough act to follow and the bond market return performance was in fact a mixed bag. Interest rates drifted slightly higher (see Canadian Yield Curve chart below), which is a negative factor for bond return performance. Inflation continued to trend downwards at a slower than anticipated pace, but the Canadian economy remained stronger than expected with a very modest beat in GDP growth in January (the latest data released), thus creating the environment for mixed bag return profile.