PIMCO’s Bill Gross has a switch of heart. He has gone from hating treasuries to liking them. Please consider Pimco’s Gross Buys Treasuries Amid Deflation Concern.
Bill Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., said he’s been buying longer maturity Treasuries in recent weeks as protection against deflation.
“There has been significant flattening on the long end of the curve,” Gross said in an interview from Newport Beach, California, with Bloomberg Radio. “This reflects the re- emergence of deflationary fears. The U.S. is at the center of de-levering as opposed to accelerating growth.”
Gross had said during the midst of the credit crunch that Treasuries offered little value as investors seeking a refuge from turmoil in global financial markets drove yields to record lows in December. He boosted the $177.5 billion Total Return Fund’s investment in government-related bonds to 44 percent of assets, the most since August 2004, from 25 percent in July, according data released earlier this month on Pimco’s Web site. The fund cut mortgage debt to 38 percent from 47 percent.
Yield Curve Flattening
click on chart for sharper image
I am very familiar with the yield curve flattening. The above chart is one I run constantly, in real time, on my computer. The curve represents weekly closes. The flattening from the actual peak is even greater. The intraday high in the 10-Year Treasury Note is just over 4%.
What’s The CPI?
Properly adjusted for housing, I have the real CPI as of July at -6.2%. That number is arrived at by substituting the Case-Shiller CPI for Owners Equivalent Rent (OER) in the CPI. Please see What’s the Real CPI? for details.
Inquiring minds might also be interested in Real Treasury Yields Highest In History. If real treasury yields are high, it should be no wonder that Bill Gross in interested in them.
Rents Falling Everywhere
Given that the official measure of CPI is based on rents not housing prices, please consider the following collection of links courtesy of Lanser on Real Estate: Really? Rents fall almost everywhere.
- Manhattan:Apartment Rents Drop as Employers Cut Jobs
- Houston: Renters are snagging deals in a slowing local market
- Tuscon: On your mark, get set, go! Apartment firm makes game of it.
- Nashville: Apartment rates squeezed by lower demand
- Nationwide: Renters look for thirfty comfort, not style
- Tokyo: Apartment rents under pressure
- Middle East: 17% fall in rents seen in Qatar this year
- Orange County: O.C. renters get twice the freebies
Look for downward pressure on the official CPI because of falling rents.
As I have said before, the treasury market is increasingly skeptical of the reflation effort taking hold. Bill Gross is clearly in agreement.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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