The Japanese equity market rose in April, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 3.55% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 4.73%.
The broad-based synchronized growth story continued to soften through March, as consumers pared back purchases in the face of rising prices.
As much as we would prefer to discuss market fundamentals over the trials and tribulations of the current US Administration, it has been largely unavoidable in this first quarter of 2018.
Chinese companies are now a force to be reckoned with on their home turf – a market which used to be dominated by foreign brands. This report looks at how the change has come about and where Chinese brands are headed.
Beijing conference takeaway: It is clear that while China is set for lower economic growth this year, this decrease represents a welcome central government focus on creating a cleaner, more efficient economy.
The market narrative changed abruptly over the quarter, from observing the “melt up” in January with exceptionally low volatility, to a massive spike in volatility in early February with markets remaining on edge ever since.
The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index declined 1.5% in USD terms, amid significant volatility across global markets. Concerns about a global trade war and a sell-off in the US tech sector weighed heavily on sentiment.
US Treasuries (USTs) traded in relatively tight range in March, with the yield curve bull flattening. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interate rates by 25 basis points (bps), and signalled it could lift rates at a marginally more aggressive pace in coming years.
The Japanese equity market fell in March, with both the TOPIX (w/dividends) and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) dropping 2.04% on-month.
In its March meeting, the midpoint of the FOMC’s projection for the Core PCE price index did not hit 2.0% until 2019. However, it seems likely to occur in the upcoming March reading. Meanwhile, today's Core CPI already exceeded 2.0%.
John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com