Investing in Commodities During a Recessionby Eric Petroff
Another area of investing you want to consider in the context of a recession is commodity markets. The general rule to understand about these investments is to keep in mind that growing economies need inputs, or natural resources. As economies grow, the need for natural resources grows, and the prices for those resources rise. Conversely, as economies slow, the demand slows and prices go down. So, if investors believe a recession is forthcoming, they will sell commodities, driving prices lower. However, commodities are traded on a global basis, and U.S. economic activity is not the sole driver of demand for resources such as oil, gas, steel, etc. So don't necessarily expect a recession in the U.S. to have a direct impact on commodity prices, at least not as strong of an effect as we have seen in the past. At some point in time, the world's various economies will separate from the U.S., creating a demand for resources that is increasingly less sensitive to U.S. growth in GDP. If you expect a recession, positioning your portfolio is quite simple. Shift assets away from equities, especially the riskiest equities like small stocks. You should also move away from credit risk in fixed-income markets and into Treasuries.