Research by Vanguard shows that not all inflation hedges are created equally. This according to a recent MarketWatch article.
TIPS: The article reports that although investors have been drawn to Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS), their inflation protection isn’t impressive—specifically, “a 1% rise in unexpected inflation would produce a 1% rise in the value of TIPS.”
Commodities provide a much better hedge than TIPS, the article reports, noting that over the past decade, the inflation beta for the asset class has fluctuated between 7 and 9: In other words, a 1% rise in unexpected inflation would produce a 7% to 9% rise in commodities.
Equities: While not as strong a hedge as commodities, equities do provide some protection: The Vanguard study shows that commodity-related sectors represent a smaller part of the equity market than before, while “ineffective inflation hedges” like tech and consumer discretionary sectors are larger.
Bonds: “And the worst inflation hedge is bonds,” the article concludes, “as rising interest rates erode their value.”