Last year was a terrible year for the markets, even for many hedge funds. According to investment data firm Preqin, hedge fund returns were down 6.5% in 2022, the largest drop since the 13% decline in 2008 during the financial crisis. That’s why global hedge fund managers are preparing for persistent inflation by seeking exposure to commodities and bonds that perform well in inflationary environments. A majority of 10 global asset and hedge fund managers that were surveyed by Reuters said commodities are undervalued and should thrive as global inflation stays elevated this year. In addition, they are also seeking inflation-linked bonds to shield against price rises, and exposure to certain corporate credit, as higher rates restore differentiation in company bond spreads. For instance, London-based hedge fund manager, Crispin Odey is betting inflation will remain high. He told Reuters that "Commodities will start to rise again. They've sold off very heavily and are below operating costs in many instances." Danielle Pizzo, chief strategy officer at Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, told Reuters that her firm “Aims to focus more on investment grade and high-yield bonds this year as well as commodities.”
Finsum:Hedge funds, which saw the largest drop in performance last year since the financial crisis, are concerned about persistent inflation and are seeking exposure to commodities and select bonds.
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Gold has been doing well this year alongside all the market turmoil and uncertainty. While one could construe recent progress on a trade deal with China as potentially bad for gold—given its status as an uncertainty hedge—the reality is that rates are headed lower via Fed cuts. This means the Dollar will weaken, and in turn help gold. Societe Generale, for instance, is advising a maximum allocation to gold, saying investors should have 5% of their portfolios in it. Additionally, a resolution to the trade war would probably also weaken the Dollar as there would be less desire to take advantage of its safe haven status.
FINSUM: Basically Soc Gen is arguing that gold will benefit from both lower rates and a risk-on trade. The former aspect seems sound, but gold benefitting from less anxiety? Sounds a weak supposition to us.
Societe Generale, famed European investment bank, has just told investors they should load up on gold. Gold is seeing several value drivers at the moment. These include the economic cycle and fears over the trade war, a lack of other safe haven assets, and importantly (and much less known), central bank purchases. Global central banks (like China’s) are trying to diverse away from the Dollar, and gold is an attractive way for them to do so.
FINSUM: There are a lot of tailwinds for the yellow metal right now. The Fed is less dovish than most expected and there does not seem to be much risk of a huge risk-on shift that would leave gold forgotten.
Gold has had an extraordinary run over the last few months. It is the first time it has really broken out of its funk since just after the Crisis. However, both JP Morgan and Barclays are saying it is probably time to cash out. Both argue that gold’s recent rise has been driven by speculation and not real fundamentals, such as the direction of the Dollar and interest rates. As such, these prices look vulnerable.
FINSUM: This is good analysis, but we also have another reason for you—if the Fed cuts and investors switch to risk-on assets, where does that leave gold?
Gold has been stuck in a bear market for a long time. However, it is getting close to completely breaking out of its funk, as the yellow metal is at a 6-year high. Gold is being driven by worries over the economy, falling yields, and a potentially weaker Dollar, as well as geopolitical fears. UBS summed up gold’s position this way, saying “[Due to the] declining cost of holding gold as rates remain low or continue to fall, gold’s appeal as a diversifier and alternative asset amid the current macro environment is increasing”.
FINSUM: Our only worry about gold is if rate cuts cause a risk-on move by investors that will leave gold in the dust.