Arnott Still Focused on Inflation, Not Deflation

While many investors and commentators have raised fears of deflation recently, Rob Arnott of PIMCO and Research Affiliates still has his eye on potential inflation — and the opportunities it could present for investors.

Arnott tells the Los Angeles Times that concerns about deflation could actually end up resulting in inflation. He thinks deflation fears will soon mushroom, the Times reports, and as federal stimulus spending winds down he sees a “pretty good likelihood of another recession” in 2011. “But another downturn also could force the government to pull out all the stops (again) to try to revive growth,” the Times‘ Tom Petruno writes. “That, to Arnott, would set the scene for a rise in inflation, in part a result of the huge sums of money sloshing around the financial system, with more likely to come.”

The near-term deflation fears would lead to investors dumping inflation-hedging investments, such as inflation-indexed Treasury bonds, commodities, and real estate-related securities, Arnott says — which would make those investments bargains not long before a big bout of inflation hits. “I expect to see a generational opportunity to load up on inflation hedges in the next 12 to 24 months,” he said.

Arnott doesn’t see wild hyperinflation hitting the U.S., but he does think inflation could sometimes climb into double-digit territory in this decade, the Times says. Arnott also says the country’s big debt load gives the Federal Reserve an incentive to support inflationary policies, since that would make it easier to pay down debt.

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