The S&P Multi-Asset Dynamic Inflation Strategy Index was launched in 2021 to offer a more dynamic, rotational approach to integrating inflation hedging than the typical static 5%-10% allocation to commodities. The index dynamically weights asset class constituents monthly based on the underlying inflation regime represented by the latest monthly U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) reading.1 In 2022, the index has outperformed most major asset classes, as can be seen in Exhibit 1. With the highest inflation readings in decades, it may make sense for industry participants to look to assets that have performed well in high inflation environments historically.
Why did the S&P Multi-Asset Dynamic Inflation Strategy Index display double-digit positive performance in 2022? The answer lies in the current constituent percentage weights. In a high-inflation environment, it’s possible that inflation-sensitive asset classes with high inflation beta could offer a way to combat high and rising inflation. Exhibit 2 illustrates the weighting of the index over time with the U.S. CPI readings overlaying it. As of Feb. 28, 2022, the index weight was over 50% commodities (in yellow), allowing it to perform well in this environment. Recent inflation readings are some of the highest we’ve seen in the modern era. Based on its back-tested history, the index would’ve spent much of its time in a 60/40 equity/bond weight in the 2010s, as we had many years of low inflation during that time. This allowed it to perform well over time regardless of the inflation regime.
Where do we go from here? With the Fed hiking rates on March 16, 2022, by 25 bps, time will tell if this effort cools prices or not. Geopolitical conflicts and lagging pandemic supply chain issues have been playing major roles in this high inflation backdrop and might continue to be a factor in the future. The Fed believes inflation could be high until the middle of 2022. Some economists are adjusting their inflation forecasts and expecting transitory scenarios to play out over the short term in some areas of the global economy. The ability of the index to adjust to different inflation regimes has historically offered impressive results, albeit during the short two-decade back-tested history. Correlations of changes in the index performance to changes in inflation over the past five years were positive compared with less dynamic market exposures as can be seen in Exhibit 3.
The S&P Multi-Asset Dynamic Inflation Strategy is designed to offer a researched, rules-based benchmark to navigate this high inflation time in a favorable risk-adjusted way. For a deeper dive into the index, check our Fiona Boal and Lalit Ponnala’s paper here.
1 For more detailed information on the objective of the index, read this blog from Fiona Boal.
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