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Inflation Tracking Portfolios

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  • Christopher T. Downing
  • Francis A. Longstaff
  • Michael A. Rierson

Abstract

We propose a new approach to constructing inflation tracking portfolios. The key to this approach is the insight that asset returns track expected inflation far better than they track current realized inflation. Thus, we can construct portfolios that track next month's inflation much more closely than they track this month's inflation. We show this staggered hedging approach can eliminate nearly 90 percent of the tracking error of more conventional inflation hedging strategies. We also find that long-short positions in equities play a dominant role in the effective hedging of inflation risk over extended horizons. These results suggest that the goal of protecting portfolios against inflation may be more feasible that is commonly believed.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18135.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18135

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  1. Fama, Eugene F, 1975. "Short-Term Interest Rates as Predictors of Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 269-82, June.
  2. Owen Lamont, 1999. "Economic Tracking Portfolios," NBER Working Papers 7055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elizabeth Yobaccio & Jack H. Rubens & David C. Ketcham, 1995. "The Inflation-Hedging Properties of Risk Assets: The Case of REITs," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 10(3), pages 279-296.
  4. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
  5. Bodie, Zvi, 1976. "Common Stocks as a Hedge against Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 459-70, May.
  6. Titman, Sheridan & Warga, Arthur, 1989. "Stock Returns as Predictors of Interest Rates and Inflation," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(01), pages 47-58, March.
  7. Fama, Eugene F, 1981. "Stock Returns, Real Activity, Inflation, and Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 545-65, September.
  8. Geert Bekaert & Xiaozheng Wang, 2010. "Inflation risk and the inflation risk premium," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 25, pages 755-806, October.
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