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Gold to replace US Treasuries as the ‘ultimate risk-off asset’ – strategist

Gold to replace US Treasuries as the ‘ultimate risk-off asset’ – strategist
A report by financial services organization INTL FCStone has measured gold’s ability to act as a hedge against stock market volatility, which “varies from decade to decade.”

According to the report, if the US Federal Reserve continues to steadily raise interest rates, gold will replace US Treasuries as a safe-haven asset.

“If, as I expect, rates will go higher for longer, much higher for much longer, gold will replace Treasuries as the ultimate risk-off asset, and investors should own it as an insurance against equity market risk,” said INTL FCStone global macro strategist Vincent Deluard.

He noted that the precious metal tended to rally during “big down weeks for the stock market between 1985 and 1995, when the memories of the great inflation were still fresh.”

Gold’s value as an equity hedge declined during the “great moderation” of the late 90s, Deluard said, adding that Treasuries emerged as the new risk-off asset during the deflationary years that followed the financial crisis of 2008. “However, gold has outperformed Treasuries on bad stock market weeks since the Fed started hiking rates in 2015,” he said.

READ MORE: Forget bars & coins: Digital gold will revolutionize marketplace – claims precious metals trader

The report also highlighted that the Fed’s “put” has been waning when it comes to US Treasuries. A "put" option is an option to sell assets at an agreed price on or before a particular date.

INTL FCStone’s strategists added that foreign investors do not favor US Treasuries because American yields are “often negative on a currency-hedged basis.”

According to Deluard, “the speculation around Russian and Chinese central banks buying up gold and selling US Treasuries” is another significant aspect to keep in mind when weighing risk-off asset options.

It is “undeniable that China and Russia have reduced their US Treasuries reserves (to close to zero in the case of Russia) and increased their holdings of gold,” he said.

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