In an interview with CNBC earlier this month, Ariel Investment’s Charles Bobrinskoy argued, “Almost every long-term bond around the world is trading at inflated prices, prices that make absolutely no theoretical sense.”
The firm’s Vice Chairman argued that the 10-year Treasury, which has traded at an average of 4% over the last 200 years, is now at about 1.6%. “We’re going to have more than 1.6% inflation in the U.S. over the next ten years,” he said, “so you’re going to get a negative after-tax return on those bonds.”
Bobrinskoy acknowledged that he was changing his tune a bit on the economy—that while there were previously no signs of a recession coming, he was shifting his view a bit due to less-than-positive economic data. That said, he argued that the yield curve has steepened, so “the market might not see a recession coming.” And the consumer-based U.S. economy, he argues, is still showing signs of growth (citing job creation and wage data).
The U.S./China trade situation adds uncertainty, he said, but suggested, “the good news is that these risks are well understood. It’s not like a recession is sneaking up on everybody. Europe and parts of Asia are having slower growth.”