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I own this etf for many years. After many years of money printing, I expected the inflation will rise and when it does it will go up high and fast. I convinced myself to accept low dividend yield expecting protection against inflation. Fast forward, inflation is rising fast, however XRB price is dropping and the yield still low.
I understand the bond price is dropping, but where is the protection against inflation?
Any thoughts on why is this happening?
 

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I’m no expert but from what I’ve read real return bonds offer inflation protection in 2 ways, 1. the principal is raised 2. Coupon payment is adjusted based on the new principal.

I recall reading both of these are done every 6 months (December and June) so there may be a lag between RRB and seeing the inflation protection.

Just a thought.

 

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The adjustment on principal may be happening, and at first glance you would think the unit price should respond (rise with inflation). However this holds very long term bonds, and the prices of those are volatile and can change dramatically. So even if principal is rising, the volatility of the bond prices is working against it.

As @Flugzeug says, the coupon payments should be increasing during high inflation. So I think the main benefit of XRB is supposed to be rising semi-annual cash distributions. But this hasn't happened yet either. Here are the recent cash distributions, rounded to make it easier to see

2019 June, 0.23
2019 Dec, 0.24
2020 June, 0.22
2020 Dec, 0.19
2021 June, 0.18
2021 Dec, 0.18

High inflation readings only started at the end of last year. Maybe this means that distributions will increase this year/next year.

I'm still not sure this will work as intended. I don't understand why these distributions have decreased over the last 3 years.

Maybe in 1-2 years, we can see if the distributions are rising with inflation? It's really not clear to me.
 

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I own this etf for many years. After many years of money printing, I expected the inflation will rise and when it does it will go up high and fast. I convinced myself to accept low dividend yield expecting protection against inflation. Fast forward, inflation is rising fast, however XRB price is dropping and the yield still low.
I understand the bond price is dropping, but where is the protection against inflation?
Any thoughts on why is this happening?
Three things are happening here:
1. rates are going up and the bonds in the ETF are being repriced lower in response. You can gauge the impact of rates on this ETF with it's effective duration statistic. At 14.91 this indicates a parallel shift in the yield curve of 0.25% higher would result in a price loss of about 3.7% This is a one time loss in response to the one time change in the yield curve, not recurring. Of course subsequent changes in the curve cause similar changes in the price, which happens on a continuous basis.

2. the ETF tracks an index which has a fixed duration. You do not hold individual bonds which will be held until they mature. Over time the ETF sells bonds as they mature out or have a remaining term less than the target of the index. And they buy new, longer term bonds with the proceeds. When rates are rising this creates a drag on the total return of the ETF. If you hold long enough you may overcome this drag with the higher income from the new bonds that have a higher coupon.

3. Coupon interest is paid semi annual. It increases with inflation because the fixed coupon rate is multiplied by an adjusted principle (grows with inflation on a cumulative basis). Since it's a six month payment divide the coupon interest by 2 then multiply by the inflated principle. Your ETF has a weighted average coupon interest around 2.3% If you got this far you will realize that inflation really needs to move the needle to make the interest payment jump because the rate is so low. Coupon is recurring so over time the higher income can make up for a price loss. But not in the same period.

Final thought, the decision to hold inflation protected bonds are probably better viewed as relative to holding normal bonds. As such your best indication of the how you did on your original thesis is to compare against a traditional fixed income (aggregate bond index) benchmark.
 
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