Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said low interest rates and inflation should dissuade investors from buying bonds and other holdings tied to currencies.
“They are among the most dangerous of assets,” Buffett said in an adaptation of his annual letter to shareholders that appeared today on Fortune magazine’s website. “Over the past century these instruments have destroyed the purchasing power of investors in many countries, even as these holders continued to receive timely payments of interest and principal.”
Buffett, 81, who built Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire from a failing textile maker into a firm selling insurance, energy and jewelry through acquisitions and stock picks, echoes Laurence D. Fink, chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc. Fink said this week that investors should be 100 percent in equities, because of depressed stock valuations and the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates low.
“High interest rates, of course, can compensate purchasers for the inflation risk they face with currency-based investments — and indeed, rates in the early 1980s did that job nicely,” Buffett wrote. “Current rates, however, do not come close to offsetting the purchasing-power risk that investors assume. Right now bonds should come with a warning label.”