Most recently, you may have read that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced a change in how the Fed views inflation. In the past, the Fed said it would consider adjusting bond market short-term rates when inflation approached 2 percent. But in light of 2020’s many challenges, the Fed’s new policy may allow inflation to run above 2 percent for a period of time before any shift in monetary policy is considered.1
For many, bonds are a critical component of their overall investment strategy. So any change in Fed policy regarding inflation may influence a portfolio. That’s why it’s so important to understand that the market value of a bond will fluctuate with changes in interest rates. In other words, when interest rates rise, the value of existing bonds will typically fall.2
There’s no doubt this will be a subtle change for many. But for bond investors, the policy shift may indicate that the Fed has given itself more flexibility in the future.
But, what does that mean for the outlook for the bond market as a whole? It’s unclear. However, lower levels of unemployment in recent years have not led to higher inflation. This new phenomenon runs counter to the Phillips curve, a concept which states that inflation and unemployment have a stable and inverse relationship. With this data in mind and the changes announced by Chairman Powell, it could be argued that the Fed believes the relationship between unemployment and inflation has changed.3
In earlier videos, financial advisor Ed Doughty mentions the relationship between the Fed and the economy, as well as elaborates on the age-old expression “Don’t Fight the Fed”.
Keep in mind that if an investor sells a bond before maturity, it may be worth more or less than the initial purchase price. By holding a bond to maturity, an investor will receive the interest payments due plus your original principal, barring default by the issuer. Investments seeking to achieve higher yields also involve a higher degree of risk.
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With all the attention given to inflation, stock prices, and job reports, it’s been easy to overlook the remarkable move in the bond market during the past few months as bond yields have fallen. The yield on the 10-year treasury closed at 1.37% on Friday, July 9, down from its 2021 high of 1.74% in … Continue reading “The Quiet Fall in Bond Yields”
On July 6, oil prices reached a six-year high of $76.98 a barrel. This benchmark came as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies failed to reach an agreement regarding an increase in production.1 This rise in cost follows a year in which OPEC and allies cut production amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. … Continue reading “Oil Prices Hit Six-Year High”
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