Casting his vote in the ongoing debate of which is a bigger bubble, bonds or stocks, Bridgewater’s billionaire founder Ray Dalio, who has continued his whirlwind of media appearances in recent years, said that he sees a “significant amount of risk in the bond market” envisioning a growing risk to stability as the U.S. moves toward a bigger deficit and the Federal Reserve unwinds its balance sheet. He is, of course, referring to this projection by the CBO of the US debt over the next 30 years which, sadly, remains quite unsustainable especially in a rising rate environment and in which central banks no longer monetize deficits (which is precisely why the Fed will promptly resume QE after a brief cool off period).
Addressing this, Dalio said that “tightenings become progressively more concerning because as you move along they’re more and more difficult to get perfect.” Speaking to Bloomberg radio, Dalio also warned that “as we’re progressing, we’re entering a period of greater risk in the nature of the market.”
Meanwhile, confirming what anyone who has seen the fund’s 13F knows, Dalio said that Bridgewater has been long equities, but didn’t provide more details on how the world’s biggest hedge fund is trading the market. He also said he doesn’t think the Fed can continue the pace at which it has begun to unwind its $ 4.5 trillion balance sheet. Dalio also said he expects the U.S. budget deficit to increase to 1.5% of GDP, growing the supply of debt at the same time the central bank is offloading bonds.
“I think they’ll be cautious in this but when you’re caught in this part of the cycle it’s very delicate,” he said.
As we have discussed previously, with total federal debt over $ 20.4 trillion, rising interest rates will increasingly redirect a growing portion of US tax revenues to covering interest expense; the question is at what point will this become prohibitively high, and detract from other critical spending programs.