So Much For Pimco Buying Bonds: Duration Weighted Treasury Exposure Hits Whopping -23% Short, Cash Surges To Unprecedented $89 Billion
So much for all the conspiracy theories that Bill Gross was capitulating in his short position against US debt even as he continued to bash US fiscal and monetary policy. According to just released April data for the flagship Pimco $240 billion Total Return Fund (which saw a $4.2 billion increase in AUM in the month), Bill Gross actually added to his short position against US government debt, bringing total market value exposure to 4% of AUM or ($10) billion. More amazing is that on a Duration Weighted Exposure basis, the firm's Treasury short is 23%, read that again, 23%! So much for that change in outlook. Additionally, Gross also sold another $8.3 billion in mortgage securities, bringing the April total to a nominal $57.8 billion. Spring cleaning at casa de Bill continued across all fixed corporate income as well, dropping the firm's exposure to IG by $1.6 billion and to HY by $2.1 billion. The only two securities which saw a token increase was in Non-US developed markets and Emerging Markets, to $14.4 billion and $26.5 billion, respectively. Yet the biggest shocker of all, is that Gross has now brought his cash position to an all time unprecedented high of $89.1 billion! That's right, PIMCO is charging a substantial asset management fee when 37% of all assets are in cash. One would think the mattress would cost far less. Either Gross is expecting a huge collapse in the bond market (so contrary to prevailing though), or this could well be the bet that buries the Allianz subsidiary.
Looking at the maturity exposure there are no surprises: in keeping with the firm's move to almost an all cash fund, Effective Duration dropped to the second lowest in history, or 3.42 years. As the chart below shows, Gross' exposure to debt with a maturity under 5 years is a whopping 83%. Which begs the question: just how terrified is Gross of inflation to be cutting virtually any and all 5 year + exposure. And yes, if the firm was expecting a deflationary collapse, the duration exposure would be flipped upside down.