Fixed income is a regular feature in many an investor's portfolio, as a measure to counteract the volatility of equities. But this is not failsafe, as sometimes equities and other asset classes can be positively correlated. But one of the worst things to happen to bonds is inflation, and the expected corollary, interest rates. If interest rates go up, then alternative income-producing assets become more attractive, and the value of existing bonds falls.
Inflation has shot up in recent months, following the dramatic drop in the price of sterling after Brexit. But it is not at all clear that UK interest rates will rise. The Bank of England has an inflation target of 2 per cent, and inflation is now 2.9 per cent, but as this is due to currency movements rather than an over heating economy, it is unlikely that the Bank will raise interest rates, not least because wages have not risen at the same pace.
This means that fixed income investors need to keep a very close eye on statements from the Bank, and perhaps see what's happening across the Atlantic in the US. The US Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, was due to raise interest rates later today.
Fixed income is a viable source of income for many an investor; but we are living in uncertain times so all bets are off over the medium to long-term.