Source: sxc.hu Photo: svilen001

Source: sxc.hu Photo: svilen001

Simple answer is No.

But maybe not for the reason you think.

Inflation can be neutral to stocks and other real assets

Inflation means rising costs and prices. It also means rising asset values. It means that the currency has lost its buying power and it now takes more of it to buy the same amount of benefit. If you are worried about US inflation and are looking at US assets than keep in mind that as inflation takes hold, the nominal value of these US assets will be repriced upwards. Which means if you buy some of these assets today, than the future value of the asset will keep pace with inflation, all other factors being equal. Real Estate, Stocks and Commodity investments have traditionally kept pace with inflation and this is likely to be the case for the future.

But maybe not so much for the bonds and other debt instruments

This time around we are faced with higher inflation in the future and rising interest rates at the same time. The US debt quality is under strain and it will take an increase in interest rates to keep the foreign governments and institutions to continue their buying of US debt. As the interest rate goes up, the bond values will decline. If you are investing in domestic bonds today, not only are you getting lower yields but you will also see your principal decline as the interest rates rise. If your asset allocation calls for investing in bonds, you should look outside US. I am pretty partial to Canada and Australia as these economies are relatively stable, well developed and would be able to perform well due to the fact that they are resource rich and will benefit from the continued demand for commodities.

There are other things to consider

Let’s say that the predictions of higher inflation and higher interest rates come to pass. Which means that the economic climate in the country is not as business friendly as it used to. Businesses will find raising money with debt (which is a cheaper way to raise money) more expensive. Fed would have likely started to act to contain inflation by soaking up the excess money supply, which means that credit will be in short supply as well. This would likely lead to the prospect of reduced economic growth. When this happens, it would be more advantageous to invest in emerging¬† markets and economies internationally which are growing much more robustly. Alternatively, you could invest in US based companies that have a large international presence and would be able to adapt and benefit from international growth.

There are many companies that you can invest in today that are not too expensive, will hold up well during inflation and have large international operations such as Johnson and Johnson, Pepsi/Coke, Boeing, Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, and so on. Some of the banks and financial companies with global franchises may also be a good investment.

As a stock and real estate investor, inflation is not necessarily an enemy. If you are looking to invest internationally, and you should, the reasons to do so should be diversification and exposure to high growth and emerging markets. International investing is not necessarily a good inflation hedge.