The cumulative positioning of investors in companies and asset classes that are deemed safe in a “lower for longer” environment is undergoing a significant test at present.
2016 may best be remembered as the year in which Trump won and the world changed. The question becomes which reforms will take centre stage.
Asia ex-Japan equities returned -2.9% in US Dollar (USD) terms, underperforming MSCI World. US president-elect Donald Trump's stance on the repeal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a domestic US focus at the expense of foreign trade has initially been perceived as negative for Asia, although there remains much uncertainty with regard to US policy going forward.
UST yields surged in the month as Trump's election victory prompted expectations of a significant fiscal package and possible upside inflation risk under the new administration.
October was another difficult month for Global credit markets, in particular for Investment Grade bonds. By contrast, more risky High Yield bonds outperformed. In terms of sector results, financial issuers outperformed.
Asia ex-Japan equities returned -1.5% in US Dollar (USD) terms, outperforming the MSCI World which declined by 1.9%. Crude oil prices finished the month down as OPEC members failed to reach a conclusive deal on supply, while political developments in US and ASEAN were key drivers of markets during the month.
USTs ended lower in October. Better US economic data and a hawkish statement from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) bolstered expectations of a December interest rate hike. 10-year UST yields rose about 23 basis points (bps) to 1.83%.
"Find growth and you will find performance" was our Asian Equity investment mantra in early 2016 as the world grappled with slowing growth and lethargy with monetary experimentaton in low and depressed interest rates.
Emerging markets (EM) have endured strong adjustments in commodities and currencies that coupled with reforms makes a good case for better growth ahead. Still, it will take time for EM to navigate to more stable sources of growth, requiring relative stability through the delicate transition.
Asia ex-Japan equities rose in September, returning 1.6% in US Dollar (USD) terms and outperforming both the MSCI World and MSCI Emerging Markets indices. Risk appetite remained healthy following the US Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged and a more favourable US presidential debate outcome.
USTs ended September mixed. While the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and the Bank of Japan reinforced commitment to monetary easing, the ECB's lack of new stimulus disappointed the market.
Central bank policy from the US, Japan and Europe are strongly affecting the current global fixed income markets. New Zealand and Canadian economies also face continued pressure. We maintain the view that there is a positive environment for emerging markets, but have moved slightly more cautious.
Asian markets extended their rally into August. Asian stocks were supported by a robust reporting season where earnings were mostly in line with consensus expectations.
On the back of expectations that the Fed will keep interest rates on hold in the next months, the global search for yield is likely to support demand for Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian bonds.
In developed markets, global bonds have benefited from recent flows out of Japan into positive-yielding markets. We maintain the view that there is a positive environment for emerging markets.
We continue to see good value in Asia ex-Japan equities for long-term investors. Asia still has considerable room at both the monetary and fiscal levels to stimulate economies if needed and governments appear willing to act on reforms and infrastructure investment.
July saw US Treasury yields ending in mixed trading. Yields of shorter maturities climbed, while those of longer maturities fell. Plus updates on Malaysia, Singapore, India, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and others.
The major consideration for markets in June was the Brexit vote in the UK. Although we are sceptical about the most pessimistic scenarios for the UK, there will be some negative impact on growth.
The UK's late June vote in favour of 'Brexit' was initially read as a deep negative, particularly given that markets were priced strongly in favour of a 'Remain' vote. However, after brief reflection, markets outside the region saw a rally, with risk asset performance more than making up for Brexit losses. Emerging markets have been a primary beneficiary...
We continue to see good value in Asia Pacific ex-Japan equities for long-term investors. We continue to advocate that Asia is ultimately a net beneficiary of lower-for-longer commodity prices and offers significant growth opportunities led by infrastructure development, albeit contingent on positive government action.