Although rates might go higher, the safe havens finally become a feasible alternative for those investors who want to create a hedge against stock market volatility. Indeed, the correlation between US Treasuries and the stock market became negative in July after being positive four months after the SVB collapse.
Adding government bonds to one's portfolio might be sensible when rates increase. While higher rates threaten risky assets as borrowing costs rise, they represent an opportunity for cautious investors seeking assets that might diversify one's portfolio in case of a tail event .
Current US Treasury yield levels are attractive. If one buys 10-year US Treasuries today at 4.3% and holds them for one year, he would still record a profit of 0.005% if yields move to 5%(considered capital depreciation and coupon income). Yet, returns would be significant in case of a downturn. If 10-year yields dropped to 3.5%, one would make 12.8%.
European and the UK sovereign bonds
The same reasoning is valid for European sovereigns and UK gilts.
Although European sovereign bonds are also vulnerable to Japanese investors' repatriation and quantitative tightening is impossible to ignore that Germany and the Netherlands are already in a recession. That poses serious questions concerning the ECB’s hawkish stance and whether it can keep rates higher for longer.
Investors buying a 10-year Bund at 2.67% today and holding them until the end of 2024 will lose -1.3% if rates rise to 3.3% but gain almost 10% if rates drop to 2%.
Things might be more complex for Gilts. Inflation in the UK is the highest among the G7, and the Bank of England might need to hike rates further to get a hold of inflation.
Yet, buying 10-year Gilts at 4.68% today and holding them until the end of 2024 will still return 0.8% if yields go to 5.25% and +10.2%if yields drop to 4.1%.