The Treasury Market in Spring 2020 and the Response of the Federal Reserve

Annette Vissing-Jorgensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Treasury yields spiked during the initial phase of COVID. The 10-year yield increased by 64 bps from March 9 to 18, 2020, leading the Federal Reserve to purchase $1T of Treasuries in 2020Q1. Fed Treasury purchases were causal for reducing Treasury yields based on (1) the timing of purchases (which increased on March 19), (2) evidence against confounding factors, and (3) the timing of yield reversal and Fed purchases in the MBS market. Treasury-QE worked more via purchases than announcements. The yield spike was driven by liquidity needs of mutual funds, foreign official agencies, and hedge funds that were unaffected by the March 15, 2020 Treasury-QE announcement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Monetary Economics
Pages (from-to)19-47
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Treasury bonds
  • Federal Reserve
  • Quantitative easing

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