the yield curve is a graphical representation of the different interest rates paid by bonds with the same level of risk but different maturities. when people talk about the yield curve, they're usually referring to the difference in interest rates paid by u.s. treasury securities which are maturities ranging from three months to 30 years. the yield curve can be classified as normal, flat or inverted. when the yield curve is normal, short-term interest rates are lower than the long-term interest rates and the curve slopes upward. an upward sloping yield curve indicates that investors expect short-term interest rates to rise. for example, a normal yield curve might show that one month treasury bills pay 0.16% interest, while two year notes pay 0.27% and 30 year bonds pay 2.82%. when the yield curve is flat, short-term yields are similar to long-term yields. a flat yield curve signals that investors expect interest rates to remain about the same. when the yield curve is inverted, it slopes downward, meaning that short-term rates are higher than long-term rates and investors expect short-term interest rates to decrease. the greater the slope of the curve means the greater the expected interest rate change. the yield curve is only an indicator of expectations, as the interest rate changes that it anticipates may or may not actually occur. the yield curve not only concerns investors but also holders of adjustable rate mortgages. the yield curve can help them determine whether they can expect their interest rates to increase or decrease. the yield curve can also indicate where inflation rates and the economy as a whole might be ?.
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