The dramatic surge in inflation has affected consumers on a worldwide level. Individuals are highly concerned about the reduction in their purchasing power and the security of their savings.
Both the pandemic and the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine have caused inflation to surge. People in the USA have started to use the term Bidenflation to describe the current economic situation.
Get familiar with Bidenflation, the effects of inflation on investments, and the ways to protect your portfolio.
Table of Contents
What is it?
The term Bidenflation has become popular in recent times with the surge of inflation. While watching the news channels, you’ll hear numerous stories about the “transitory nature” of the massive inflation numbers stated by the Democrats. Nevertheless, most Americans are no longer buying that story, considering the prices in all industries have skyrocketed.
Regardless of the political party, you voted for; inflation is a genuine problem for everyone. Most Americans fear its effects and consider it a major issue. Individuals still wondering what is bidenflation should search for the Bidenflation chart on Google. An increasing number of states, such as Texas and Florida, are interested in receiving more information on this topic.
What is inflation?
Although inflation has always been present, it has never been so rampant. It refers to the increase in the average cost of services and goods over time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses piles of data to determine the exact CPI (Consumer Price Index.) This index tracks the costs of different goods like gasoline, food, clothing, and autos over time to determine the exact price increase of goods and services.
Both demand and supply play a crucial role in inflation. Prices have a tendency to rise whenever the demand for a particular product or service soars. The same occurs when the supply for identical products or services plummets. A variety of factors have an effect on supply and demand both on a national and international level, including income tax, labor costs, loan availability, etc.
For instance, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has caused serious supply chain issues, which resulted in high price levels and imbalances. Once oil and gas prices started soaring because of the war, transportation expenses followed suit. The war has also placed constraints on using the Russian transportation infrastructure to support the manufacturing process in Asia.
A multitude of companies were manufacturing components and finished products in China and later used the Russian railway to ship these items to the east and west of Europe. While shipping these items by air is an option, airline transport is significantly costlier. Another aspect to bear in mind is that Ukraine is the supplier of approximately fifty percent of the global neon gas used in the production of semiconductor chips. Read more about the immense effect of the Russia-Ukraine war on food prices and social unrest.
Both Ukraine and Russia are large exporters of grains, including barley, wheat, and corn, along with fertilizers. Consequently, prices have increased dramatically. The impact of the war has been tremendous on the European car manufacturing industry. Car manufacturers like BMW and Volkswagen have already closed some assembly lines due to the lack of wiring harnesses, which they supplied from Ukraine.
Rising inflation indicators
There are three important indicators of rising inflation, including Federal Reserve monetary policies like interest rates, oil prices, and regionalization. For instance, when the Federal Reserve is keeping interest low, it might encourage low-cost borrowing, which incentivizes economic activity and boost the demand for services and goods.
Oil is of vital importance in the production and transport of goods, which explains its low correlation with economic activity. When oil prices soar, as they did in the recent period, the prices of all goods and services rise as well. Additionally, the process of regionalization, referring to the dependence reduction on imported services and goods, is likely to cause inflation.
In the course of the last decade, the transfer of the production process overseas has been done for the purpose of looking for the lowest-cost producer. Nevertheless, the return of the factories to the US causes a rise in the production costs, labor, and goods.
How does inflation affect investments?
Inflation has a tremendous effect on fixed assets with long-term cash flows, as the performance of these assets is poor when it goes up. The purchasing power of future cash flows reduces over time, meaning inflation gradually eats them away. In contrast, commodities and assets with adjustable cash flows have a better performance in times of rising inflation. See this site, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchasing_power, to gain a better understanding of purchasing power.
Regarding savings, inflation has the capacity to shrink them even when individuals have secured their funds in savings accounts. Theoretically speaking, the money you earn should keep up with inflation. Nevertheless, when relying on your savings, such as during retirement, inflation can diminish your purchasing power. Therefore, when planning your retirement savings, you should factor it in to make sure your assets last throughout your retirement years.
Fixed income investments are no exception, including bonds and treasuries. Many individuals prefer them because of the stable income stream, referring to interest payments. Anyhow, the buying power of interest goes down as inflation rises, which in turn lowers bond prices. Most bonds provide fixed interest, whose future fixed income is eroded by inflation.
When discussing stocks as an investment tool, they might provide certain benefits in environments where inflation is rising modestly. However, they aren’t effective in robust environments. The performance of stocks against inflation has been considered satisfactory in the last three decades.
US stocks rose slightly in price, but the results are far from satisfactory. Large companies tend to develop a stronger relationship with inflation in comparison with companies of smaller size, particularly small companies. Hence, this investment tool isn’t considered very effective.
What about precious metals?
The wisest way to hedge against bidenflation is by diversifying your portfolio with precious metals. Such investments aren’t as complicated as most consumers believe, as Americans are now allowed to take advantage of gold IRAs and 401(k) rollover. These alternatives enable the legal allocation of one’s retirement savings to precious metals stored by authorized storage providers.
Individuals nearing retirement will no longer have to fear the economic crisis from 2008 or a stock market pullback. Unlike stocks and paper currencies, precious physical metals are inflation-resistant because of deriving their value differently compared to paper currencies. For example, the dollar’s value depends on the actions of central banks, the Federal Reserve, the global economy, and global factors.
Let’s take central banks as an example. These institutions tend to print larger currency quantities when they consider the economy requires extra money so as to stimulate growth and loans. The circulation of more paper currency increases the dollar supply in the economy. Unless there is a demand for dollars, the value of each dollar experiences a gradual decrease.
Gold, however, doesn’t give up on its value owing to its scarcity and modern uses. It can be transformed into jewelry, bars, commemorative coins, etc. It’s intrinsically valuable because of its high conductivity and many industrial and electronic applications. Since gold has been known as a sign of wealth for centuries, there’s no reason for investors to question its desirability, at least in the near future.
During recession and times of economic instability, when the dollar value plummets, investors seek refuge in stable investments like physical metals. They have a negative correlation with inflation, which makes them perfect for portfolio diversification. Stable supply and stable demand go in favor of gold’s price.
Silver’s value, however, is more volatile, given the numerous industrial applications. Rarer metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium are susceptible to fluctuation as well. Platinum is highly volatile owing to its rarity and heavy reliance on the auto industry. Do not forget that Russia, alongside South Africa, is the largest producer of platinum. The same is true for palladium. Their prices have reached the highest levels in response to the global sanctions on Russia.
If still have doubts about precious metals, why not consult a financial advisor to assist you in protecting your portfolio. The last couple of years has indeed demonstrated the power of geopolitical and global events in changing the economy and affecting investments.
Precious metals can make your portfolio inflation-resistant.
If you had second thoughts about these assets until now, it’s high time to embrace them!