Inflation: Expensive to Hedge

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Inflation: Expensive to Hedge

Even if an inflation shock is not part of our core scenario, it remains a risk that deserves our attention. However, it has become very difficult to hedge against this risk because of the cost. Different inflation-related assets such as energy, gold or inflation breakevens are all expensive for different reasons. The term structure of oil barrel futures prices is ascending: hedging the risk of an inflationary shock with oil currently costs 5% per year on the WTI market. Gold, which is driven by multiple factors such as uncertainty, real rates, the dollar and inflation, has seen its price soar, leaving it vulnerable to corrections as we have seen in recent days. Finally, inflation breakevens have risen rapidly from 0.6% to 1.6% and are now displaying a negative carry, with actual inflation remaining below expected inflation at this stage. As such, it is currently difficult to hedge inflation risks with these assets in view of their risk and cost.

 

Inflation: Expensive to Hedge
Source: Bloomberg, Unigestion. Data as at 24 August 2020.
Reading note: the Unigestion valuation score goes from -2 to +2. -2 indicates extreme expensiveness, while +2 indicates extreme cheapness. The valuation metrics are obtained from a combination of time series and cross section analyses, all based on risk premia’s carries.

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