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Understanding Reflation—and Why It Matters

 

July 10, 2020

 

WITH THE ECONOMY STRUGGLING TO RECOVER amid an ongoing pandemic, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has committed to a steady process of “reflation"—stimulus aimed at returning a weakened economy back toward normal, healthy levels of growth and inflation. While such tactics are nothing new, “the current reflationary process may be the strongest we've seen in decades," says Chris Hyzy, Chief Investment Officer for Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank. That could mean opportunities on several fronts for patient, strategic investors, Hyzy says.

 

“The current reflationary process may be the strongest we've seen in decades.” —Chris Hyzy, Chief Investment Officer for Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank

“The Reflation Triangle," a new report from the Chief Investment Office, points to three reasons for optimism that we're entering a period of extended, controlled growth. First is the trillions of dollars of stimulus and liquidity the Fed, Congress and governments worldwide have unleashed to help markets, consumers and businesses. Second is a weakening dollar—good news for U.S. exports and a sign of renewed global economic confidence. Finally, a steepening yield curve—with interest rates for long-term bonds rising faster than for short-term bonds—may signal increasing market confidence in the economic recovery. 

 

What it could mean for investors 

Investors remain nervous about reentering the markets, especially for stocks, Hyzy says. “We're still seeing higher flows into bonds than stocks because the 'wall of worry' is still high." Yet investors may want to consider adding stocks and other assets with higher growth potential and greater risk as part of a well-diversified portfolio, he adds. Some investors may want to consider tangible assets such as real estate, timber or farm or ranch land.  “These could generate cash flow while providing a hedge against possible future inflation," he says.

 

It's important to recognize risks that could still derail a recovery and set back the reflation process. Top among these would be a major “second wave" of the pandemic. At the same time, he adds, “it's important to plan for what appears to be the early stages of a long-term global expansion."

Information is as of 07/10/2020

 

Investing involves risk including possible loss of principal.

 

Opinions are those of the author(s), as of the date of this document and are subject to change.

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

 

The Chief Investment Office, which provides investment strategies, due diligence, portfolio construction guidance and wealth management solutions for Global Wealth & Investment Management ("GWIM") clients, is part of the Investment Solutions Group (“ISG”) of GWIM, a division of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”).

 

Asset allocation, diversification and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

 

Equity securities are subject to stock market fluctuations that occur in response to economic and business developments.

 

Bonds are subject to interest rate, inflation and credit risks.

 

Nonfinancial assets, such as closely-held businesses, real estate, oil, gas and mineral properties, and timber, farm and ranch land, are complex in nature and involve risks including total loss of value. Special risk considerations include natural events (for example, earthquakes or fires), complex tax considerations, and lack of liquidity. Nonfinancial assets are not in the best interest of all investors.

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