BlackRock Unconvinced Now Is Time To Buy Treasuries

By on
blackrock
A woman walks next to a BlackRock sign pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York, Oct. 11, 2015.

Bond markets are keeping their finger carefully on the pulse of financial markets as they await the results of the Federal Reserve’s upcoming meeting in early November.

Investment titan BlackRock is less certain of anything dramatic coming out of the Fed's next meeting. 

Wall Street firms have been expecting the Fed to follow through on promises to taper off their pandemic-era asset-buying program or possibly hiking interest rates by 2022. For the firms stocking up now on Treasury bonds, the calculus is to hedge their bets now against any interest rate risks that can emerge after the central bank meets in two weeks. 

BlackRock, which is the largest asset manager in the world, appears less certain that now is the right time to cash in on treasuries.

In an interview with Bloomberg, BlackRock’s Chief Fixed Income Strategist Scott Thiel said that his expectation is that the Fed will act more cautiously if anything when they make a decision in the coming weeks. 

“We believe the Fed’s rate hike path will be shallower than the current market pricing,” Thiel said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. 

Since August, Fed officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, have been candid about their views that the central bank can afford to gradually shut the valve on its $120 billion monthly asset purchases to help shepherd the economy and undercut inflation. 

The Fed however has been less clear about when it will begin taking action on interest rates. Powell is viewed as a monetary dove who has been trying to strike a middle ground with some more hawkish Fed officials on any tapering. Fed officials have followed Powell's lead in remaining non-committal on interest rates.

In a previous projection from June, the Fed predicted that interest rates could see two increases at early as 2023, when the economic recovery is expected to be further along. 

Thiel said that he believes market sentiment may be overlooking the current rate of inflation. Like the Fed, Thiel said that these levels may be transitory as pressures like supply chain bottlenecks ease over time. 

On why BlackRock isn't rushing to stockpile any treasuries now, the strategist said firms should be underweighting their portfolios instead to account for what he sees as the capacity for the economy to continue its expansion in the months ahead.   

“We will see yields rising over time in part because we believe they are at the wrong level to begin with given the level of economic activity we have seen,” Thiel told Bloomberg. “So there will continue to be adjustment higher in interest rates albeit not as violent as what we’ve seen in the last two weeks.”

Join the Discussion