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The worst‌-case scenario for a significant chunk of mixed portfolios is concurrently plunging equities and bonds. In contrast, the value of government bonds has decreased by 3% within the same period. 

A sharp depreciation of currencies relative to gold followed in 1931 and 1969. Roosevelt devalued the US currency against gold by around 70% just three years after the stock market and bond markets saw significant falls in 1931.

It only took the US two years in 1969 to be compelled to end the gold standard. It is clear that inflation was a major factor in each of the aforementioned situations. Because of inflation, not only do assets lose value, but also many businesses’ business concepts.

Thus, the previously announced decoupling between bonds and gold has occurred in recent months. Deflation and disinflation aren’t the main threat to portfolios; inflation is, according to both the bond and gold markets. 

One thing is certain: a traditional 60/40 portfolio will not be able to stop the economic stagnation that is currently taking hold. Not only does the previous performance of commodities, gold, and silver during previous times of economic stagnation support a larger allocation of such assets than is typically the case. 

Countercyclical investments in commodities producers are justified by their relative value to technological businesses. With an increase of 18% over the previous year, gold has outperformed other defensive assets substantially. 

Gold has aided in the protection of portfolios during market downturns and has contributed significantly to the reasons why some investment portfolios have outperformed comparable diversified funds throughout time. In this post, we go through why gold is now more important than it has ever been for your portfolio.

The 60/40 Rule

In a 60/40 rule portfolio, you allocate 40% of your assets to bonds and 60% to stocks. The 60/40 rule split is designed to reduce risk while still generating profits, especially during times of market turbulence.

The Increased Significance of Gold Investments

The traditional 60/40 portfolio is obsolete, and gold investments are becoming increasingly significant in investment portfolios, for the following reasons:

Bonds Aren’t the Core of Antifragile Portfolios Anymore

Bonds have had a really bad year thus far in 2022. For bonds with extremely lengthy maturities, the price reductions are inherently more pronounced. Thus, many investors have had to learn the hard way what duration risk entails.

The Idea That Bonds and Equities Are Negatively Correlated Is Untrue

The ratio of 60/40 was long regarded as an unquestionable fact and nearly the pinnacle of asset management. A portfolio with a 60% equity and a 40% bond allocation would guarantee capital growth with controllable risk. 

However, following deeper examination, what was first believed to be an everlasting truth is shown to be a wealth-threatening fallacy. While the annualized real return on bonds is now negative for the first time in almost 40 years, stocks are still delivering excellent yields. 

When taken into account over the long run, the negative association is the exception rather than the rule.

It Is Now Problematic That Bonds and Stocks Have a Positive Connection

So, if the positive correlation between stocks and bonds persists, what are the actual repercussions, for example, on mixed portfolios or risk parity investing strategies? Long-lasting regimes of stock-bond correlation can suddenly change, generally in reaction to increased inflation rates. 

Since many investing concepts are based on low or negative correlations between the two major asset classes, the majority of today’s market participants find it difficult to foresee the effects of a potential reversal of the connection. 

Equities and bonds often tend to be uncorrelated when examining specific periods. When nominal interest rates were high from 1960 to 2000, they had a long-lasting impact on market activity and the coefficient of correlation was often above 0.2. In contrast, when interest rates and inflation were low, the coefficient of correlation was often below -0.2. 

As a result, correlation characteristics are currently being favorably influenced by inflation once more, which is likely to result in contentious arguments among asset allocation committees and portfolio managers.

Bond Markets May Soon Face a Dangerous Position

The Federal Reserve, foreign institutions, and US banks are all purchasing fewer US Treasuries than they were last year, which is the first time in at least ten years. 

Bond rates should increase more as a result, at least until the everlasting disinflation-based algorithms and investment models start to fail, along with the anticipated additional interest rate rises and the continuance of quantitative tightening (QT).

A Looming Recession

Recessions are often a good environment for gold, which may seem surprising at first. When comparing performance throughout previous recession cycles, it is interesting to see that gold saw large average price increases in both euro and US dollar terms. 

Equities, on the other hand, have only been able to record large gains during the recession’s late stages. As a result, gold was exceptional at making up for stock losses during the early stages of these recessions. 

Bonds’ ability to operate as an equity corrective is destroyed by high debt levels, the zombification of an economy, and severe bond price drops brought on by sky-high interest rates. 

The foundation of the 60/40 portfolio, a negative relationship between stocks and bonds, would be fundamentally and therefore longer-term erased if the link between bonds and equities is now really reversed on a consistent basis.

During recessions, gold has typically been able to absorb stock price declines. On the contrary hand, things seem less promising for bonds, the traditional equity diversifier. The primary issue then would be which asset will usurp Treasury bonds as the scepter. Gold would be a popular choice, at the very least.

The Key to Portfolio Diversification

There are a lot of good reasons to think about including gold investments in your financial portfolio. Gold is a good inflation hedge since it has a reputation for holding its value. When the US dollar is doing poorly or when there is political or economic unrest, gold prices also tend to rise.

Finding investments with little correlation between them is the key to diversification. In the past, gold and other financial instruments have had a negative association. To lower overall volatility and risk, well-diversified investors include gold in their portfolios along with equities and bonds.

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