© Reuters. U.S. dollar banknotes are displayed in this illustration taken, February 14, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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By Harry Robertson
LONDON (Reuters) – PIMCO is underweight the U.S. dollar and overweight UK government bonds in some funds, a senior fund manager said on Monday.
“There’s no guarantee that we’re going to be short the dollar all the time, but today, (in) positioning we have dollar underweights versus G10 and EM (emerging markets),” Andrew Balls, chief investment officer for fixed income at the $1.8 trillion asset manager told a media event.
“My guess is on average, we’re going to have that over the next couple of years.”
The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of other major currencies is virtually unchanged so far this year, having gained 8% last year as U.S. interest rates rose sharply.
The U.S. dollar will keep its reserve currency status, Balls added, alluding to a debate on de-dollarization.
PIMCO does not hold a strong firm-wide view on the UK so is broadly neutral on UK government bonds, though some of its funds hold overweight positions, Balls said.
Inflation in the UK has fallen less than expected, prompting traders to raise bets on Bank of England rate hikes.
“We tend to be neutral and in some of our portfolios are a little bit overweight in the UK. It looks like there is value when we compare the UK with the U.S. or with Europe,” Balls said.
“(The) inflation profile is not super different across the markets.”
Speaking at the same event, Richard Clarida — a former Federal Reserve vice chair — said he expected central banks to provide less policy support in economic downturns than they have previously.
Clarida said that it would be harder for central banks to get inflation near their 2% targets than in the past 15 years because of supply shocks.
“We think we’re going to be in a world in which, at the margin, there’s probably going to be less policy support provided in economic downturns than we’ve seen… We’re seeing some early evidence of what we call (quantitative easing) fatigue,” Clarida, now an economic advisor at PIMCO, said.
For those reasons, risks to growth are “skewed to the downside,” Clarida added.