Oil is a better bet than Treasuries as the Federal Reserve contemplates raising interest rates, according to Park Sungjin, an investor in Seoul.
While the Fed probably won’t act as soon as Wednesday when it concludes a policy meeting, U.S. interest rates may head higher in the coming months, said Park, the head of investment management at Meritz Securities Co., which has $7 billion in assets. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is attractive following a 47 percent plunge over the past year, according to Park.
“Where should we look for the safe havens?” Park said. “It sounds crazy, but I think the commodity market is much better than any other, including Treasuries. The Fed is ready to raise rates, the commodity market has corrected already: I’m buying. We have a long position on commodities, especially WTI. You have to use energy.”
Park isn’t alone. Crude oil will rally about 10 percent to $47.34 a barrel by the middle of next year, based on Bloomberg surveys of economists. The backing of the U.S. government won’t be enough to protect Treasuries as the central bank increases rates. Investors in benchmark 10-year Treasury notes will lose about 3 percent after accounting for reinvested interest, based on the responses.
Benchmark U.S. 10-year note yields were little changed at 2.04 percent as of 10:59 a.m. in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader data. The price of the 2 percent security due in August 2025was 99 21/32. The yield will climb to 2.59 percent by June 30, the Bloomberg surveys show. Crude oil traded at $43.28 a barrel.
Even as signs of slowing economic growth take pressure off the Fed to move, Treasury yields still aren’t high enough, according to Park, who said he’s avoiding U.S. debt.
The probability the U.S. central bank will increase the benchmark by its December policy meeting is 33 percent, according to futures data compiled by Bloomberg. The calculations are based on the assumption the effective fed funds rate will average 0.375 percent after liftoff, compared with the current zero to 0.25 percent target range. The odds of an increase by the close of 2016 are 90 percent.