Investment Strategy for Reflation

Given that COVID-19 will remain a factor in our lives and have a negative impact on the global economy for at least the next couple of years, it appears the Fed is about to talk up a reflation scenario. In its actions, I anticipate the major policy change to come from Fed chair Powell will be to manage the yield curve, something they refer to as Yield Curve Control (YCC).

If true, this is an article worth reading:

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/06/05/what-is-yield-curve-control/

HOW WOULD YCC AFFECT THE ECONOMY?

Interest rate pegs theoretically should affect financial conditions and the economy in many of the same ways as traditional monetary policy: lower interest rates on Treasury securities would feed through to lower interest rates on mortgages, car loans, and corporate debt, as well as higher stock prices and a cheaper dollar. All these changes help encourage spending and investment by businesses and households. Recent research suggests that pinning medium-term rates to a low level once the federal funds rate hits zero would help the economy recover faster after a recession.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES TO YCC?

Like other unconventional monetary policies, a major risk associated with yield-curve policies is that they put the central bank’s credibility on the line. They require that the central bank commit to keep interest rates low over some future horizon; this is exactly why they can help encourage spending and investment, but it also means that the central bank runs the risk of letting inflation overheat while holding to its promise.

We have a precedent with the Fed adopting an approach of maintaining rates low for a long period. They made a similar decision in 2009. The result was a boost to precious metals, oil, copper, lumber, and other commodity prices and a weakening of the US Dollar.

The downside to commodity producers benefiting, of course, is that commodity consumers are disadvantaged until the intended economic growth becomes obvious. For an example of that, look to the price of lumber and the added cost to house-builders.
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So far, investors in Precious Metals seem to be waiting. As the price of Gold and Silver has popped again, and closer to an upside break-out, the prices of the Gold/Silverminers is a tad stronger, but still coiling. That breakout to levels that exceeded a month and two ago has still not happened. For the Oilers, their prices are still under pressure.
As a backgrounder to the economic environment, the likely policy change to come from the Fed, and the impact on capital markets,  here is an article from 10 years ago that is worth reading.

https://www.cnbc.com/id/39424805

I believe the breakout will occur in the next couple of weeks and — perhaps a tad early — I moved back to near full investment in the Precious and Industrial Metals.


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