With commodity prices falling, traders are anticipating lower inflation, which would help preserve the value of fixed-income payments. Since long-term debt securities are more sensitive to the inflation outlook, Treasury bond funds with longer durations are outperforming.

Looking at historical data, every time the Federal Reserve hiked rates over the past four decades, Treasuries with longer maturities have outperformed short-term debt and even exceeded corporate bonds in the first year of tightening as higher rates depressed inflation and kept the economy from overheating, Bloomberg reports. Treasuries only underperformed once in the period.

In the year ahead, many don’t believe the Fed will move too quickly or aggressively, so interest rates may move higher at a leisurely pace as inflation remains low, the global economic outlook seems tepid and the U.S. economy expands at its weakest pace in decades.

Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of TLT.

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