U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled that the central bank would eventually roll back on its support programs.
Powell told NPR Thursday that congressional stimulus and accelerated vaccine distribution has allowed the economy to recover faster than expected. At some point, that will allow the Fed to start pulling back on the help it has provided.
"As we make substantial further progress toward our goals, we'll gradually roll back the amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities we've bought," Powell told NPR's "Morning Edition."
"We will very gradually over time and with great transparency, when the economy has all but fully recovered, we will be pulling back the support that we provided during emergency times," he added.
During Powell's second testimony in Congress, alongside Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the central bank chief told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Wednesday that 2021 was "going to be a very, very strong year in the most likely case."
"There are of course risks to the upside and downside, but it should be a very strong year from a growth standpoint ... Longer run we do have to raise revenue to support permanent spending that we want to do," he added.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly fell sharply last week amid signs that hiring has picked up in the U.S. economy, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Claims totaled 684,000 for the week ended March 20, the first time the number has been below 700,000 since the Covid-19 pandemic began just over a year ago. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting claims to total 735,000 after an unexpected spike the week before.
Auctions will be held Thursday for $40 billion of four-week bills, $40 billion of eight-week bills and $62 billion of seven-year notes.
— CNBC's Thomas Franck contributed to this report.