Benchmark yield for a fixed-income security, and is the base rate where the spread is the difference between the Yield to Maturity and the Benchmark. Reason for this separation is to distinguish between economic factors. The Benchmark is the “risk free return”, which should equal the expected inflation rate and the expected real rate. Risk Free in quotes because “risk-free” does not exist. The spread is the risk premium, which should equal taxation, liquidity, and credit risk.