Agg’s Stake in Treasuries Continues to Grow

September 12, 2013

This week’s chart shows the growth of Treasuries in the BarCap Agg index. As of June 30, 2013, U.S. Treasuries made up 37% of the Agg’s holdings, which is higher than it has been in previous years. In 2007, the Agg’s Treasury position was roughly 22% and in 2010, it moved up to 33%.

Treasuries have been a growing piece of the Agg recently because the Agg is an issuance-based index. This means that areas of the market with more issuance will gain bigger positions in the index. The U.S. Treasury has been issuing more and more debt over the last few years to cover government shortfalls. As issuance has grown over time, Treasuries have taken up a larger piece of the index than previous years. Indeed, the Agg’s Treasury stake stayed in the mid-20 percent range for most of the 2000s until 2008, when the Fed’s quantitative easing (“QE”) program began. After that, the Treasury stake surged to the mid-30 percent range.

Investors should prepare for an even larger Treasury position in the Agg going forward. The Congressional Budget Office projects Treasury issuance to grow by an additional 68% over the next 10 years. With the taper of the Fed’s QE program looming and an expected rise in interest rates, an Agg that is even heavier in Treasuries is poised to struggle. Given this phenomena, investors should examine their fixed income portfolios and consider looking outside of core bonds for additional diversification and income sources.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

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