T-Bill QE + China FAI + ASF = Inflation Surprise

The consequences of three unrelated events have the potential to upset the consensus view of a low inflation or deflationary world, writes Sean Darby from Jefferies, and consequently pose a problem for government bonds in 2020. These 3 unrelated events are the outbreak of African Swine Fever in China almost a year ago which has sent local pork prices up more than 200%y-y. Secondly, the US repo market tantrum has caused the Fed to expand its balance sheet again and lastly, China’s FAI approvals are running double the rate of 2018. The note recommends a commodity-focussed equity hedge against this potential inflation surprise. Darby says that if one backs out inflation expectations from financial variables it indicates how implausible it is that commodity price pressures can resurface. A basket of commodity equities offer decent dividend yields while also the operational gearing on a recovery in commodity prices. It seems an inexpensive inflation hedge if indeed the global economy turns around, he concludes.