We explain how Abenomics is the "icing on the cake" of corporate governance improvement over the last decade.
A concentrated, stock-picking approach is the best way to serve a long-term investor's goal of capital appreciation
The internet revolution is coming to the financial sector, addressing inefficiencies in current system and business models. In China’s case we are witnessing a combination of financial liberalisation with an internet revolution in the financial sector.
Even though the current term premium on US Treasuries seems too low, it is unlikely to rise significantly unless offshore bond yields start to rise.
For investors outside China, whether they have holdings in Chinese shares or not, coming to a coherent investment view on the country has become imperative as it exerts an ever-increasing influence on global markets.
As has long been our view, disappointing economic data should not worry investors in Japanese risk assets very much at all.
While RMB weakness will likely persist for a few months, we don't expect the currency to devalue more than 10% versus USD and we maintain our confidence that the currency will be included into the IMF SDR basket in a year from now.
We will be watching to see how companies respond this year to the Corporate Governance Code, specifically the twin issues of selling cross-shareholdings and improving capital efficiency.
India is a key market to watch in the coming years. Our expert on India, Andrew Holland, CEO of Nikko AM's joint venture there, discusses with Simon Down of our UK fixed income team the forecast for reforms in the country, with some surprising conclusions.
What lies ahead for iron ore prices, particularly with the Chinese economy slowing and undergoing a transition away from a materials-intensive economy to a consumption-driven economy?
Like many countries that have previously refused to reform at all levels, sometimes it takes a true crisis to change.
The sharp equity market correction in recent weeks after a very strong run over the past year will not have a crisis-level impact to the broader economy.
The IMF has been supportive of China's attempt to be included, but has not indicated that it recommends it. Furthermore, there is a risk that most of these reforms are too new for the IMF to judge whether they are effective or sustainable.
Nikko AM Asia views the recent corrections in Chinese equities, particularly in the onshore markets, as healthy given the sharp increases in value that had occurred due to a frenzied retail market intoxicated by relatively cheap margin financing.
We believe the global economy should be quite firm for the next year, but not so strong as to cause inflation concerns.
We have a non-consensus, but completely sound call for a more aggressive Fed, whereas we expect the ECB and BOJ to maintain their current aggressive easing program.
Despite good global economic growth, other commodity prices will likely remain quite flat in our view, partially due to a stronger USD.
We calculate that equity valuations are at fair levels and that stocks can grow along with earnings.
Although the recent bond market sell-off may remind the market of 2003, we don’t believe US bonds will be as badly affected. By comparing the worst US bond sell-offs since 2003, we estimate that the 10-year US Treasury yield could hit a high of 2.8-3.2% by October.
Real yields and inflation expectations currently suggest exceptionally low growth and low inflation far out into the future.
We expect that profit margins will expand further in coming quarters, driven by a large corporate tax cut and continued industry rationalizations that further prove that Japan's structural profitability trend continues upward.
We do not expect the recent steepening of the bund yield curve to be the beginning of a sustained new trend. Moreover, Eurozone and German economic data, albeit improving, are not sufficient to support the higher bund yields on a sustained basis.
Since the Fed starting hinting at the normalization of interest rates a year ago, Asian central banks' foreign reserve accumulations - except for India and Hong Kong - have either incurred substantial losses or remained flat.
With many markets having rallied from major support levels when they were in highly oversold positions, we believe that bond markets should stabilise or rally from current levels.
We expect that Japanese pension funds will continue to shift their investments into risky assets in 2015.
Oil-producing countries have seen the largest drop in their foreign exchange (FX) holdings over the last year. In our view, Saudi Arabia can afford to handle oil prices at their current level for some time but ...
The importance of President Xi Jinping's strong leadership cannot be stressed enough. Under him China is undergoing dramatic changes. While the most thorough cleansing of state corruption is ongoing, elements of China's grand strategy are becoming more evident both domestically and on the global stage.
The market isn't overheating even though the Nikkei stock average touched the 20,000 level, nor do we believe that overseas markets are overheating right now.
Due to the developments described in this article, there is ample room for growth at Japanese firms and much opportunity for investment success.
Given the significant proportion of real estate investment as a percentage of GDP, as well as the proportion of local government revenue generated from land sales, the property market remains a crucial driver of the Chinese economy.
The March “tankan” survey results are not expected to lead to the BOJ's further acceleration of QE.
Interest rate and foreign exchange volatility has begun to increase as the market anticipates the time when the US Federal Reserve will start to reduce monetary accommodation and raise interest rates.
In sum, there certainly are some worrisome issues, as always, but we find none of them convincing enough to prevent moderate increases in equity prices.
Much as we expected, China's economy has continued to slow faster than consensus, but does not appear to be in a hard landing.
Central Banks: Despite firm economic growth, we believe that a negative YoY CPI through September will steady the Fed's hand.
Coupled with our expectation for global bond yields to rise moderately, we maintain our overweight view on global equities vs. bonds.
The recovery in profits by Japanese export firms should continue to attract the attention of the markets in the first half of 2015.
John Vail updates his long-standing theme: Japan's Successful “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance.
Through 2014, one of the largest asset classes in the world was virtually unnoticed as an indicator that Europe is not pushing the global economy into widespread deflation.
There are several credible reasons to expect that QE will boost corporate earnings in Europe, though by not as much as in the US. However the risk of disappointment relative to inflated expectations remains high.
In 2015, markets will be looking for any pick up in European and Japanese inflation as a result of their QE programmes. With growth picking up, we may start to see signs of a rise in US inflation.
The disappointing economic data should not worry investors in Japanese risk assets very much at all.
The key theme of the past few years has been quantitative easing. Although the US has come to the end of its version of this experiment, QE programmes have begun or are about to begin in Japan and Europe.
In a pre-GFC and pre-QE world, zero or negative interest rates on a German, Japanese or US 10-year bond would have been considered highly implausible. However...
We expect the next phase of the global evolution to be driven by a growing global population, rapid urbanisation and for most of it to happen in emerging markets with increasing focus on "green" development.
ECB's QE: The major question is, will this program work given the European model of debt creation is via the banking system and not the bond markets?
The steel industry and its underlying iron ore industry are witnessing excess production and deflationary forces that are similar to the global energy markets.
The QE announcement was a major step forward for Eurozone. It is not without dangers and questions about implementation, however, so markets should not get over-enthusiastic about it.
Now that oil prices have declined, if a central bank targets its overall CPI at 2.0% for 2015, it would likely be labeled as being overly aggressive and perhaps attempting to unfairly weaken its currency.
As the Fed continues to unwind its stimulus, even amidst threats of global deflation, there are hopes that China will accelerate the liberalization of its capital account and take over the Fed's role as the global supplier of liquidity.
We expect oil prices to rebound and for the time being, we will stick with our call for Brent to rebound to $72 by end-June 2015, although $65 is a more plausible goal.
Supply-side shocks and market distortions have created a degree of uncertainty over the short to medium-term outlook for the New Zealand dairy industry.
Brazil can no longer continue as “business as usual” and it is at an important crossroads as to whether it can exit the well-known “middle income country trap.” Domestic issues aside, EMs will continue to encounter major headwinds as an asset class in early 2015 due to negative stories from large countries, such as Brazil and Russia.
These reforms coupled with strong balance sheets and demographics will support higher levels of global growth for decades to come.
The investment world is changing quickly and 2015 should prove to be a very interesting year, but we see no reason to change our long-held positive view on global equities.
Recently, two major voices in the "core Fed" (Fischer and Dudley) have indicated that despite low inflation, the Fed's main scenario is to begin hiking rates in mid 2015.
China's economy likely slowed much more than the official statistics show; otherwise, the government would not have reversed course on its various crackdowns, especially on the property market.
Our Global Investment Committee always seems to meet in the middle of great volatility, and this time was no exception, with the investment world facing all sorts of new challenges.
In our view, the LDP coalition's maintenance of a strong two-thirds majority in this election will greatly help Prime Minister Abe and his party's reform efforts, while likely bolstering Yen weakness to some degree.
The Asia-Pacific region is evolving and reforming rapidly, both in terms of developing and developed countries. Over the course of the next 10 years, Asia-Pacific, including Japan, will become a default allocation in investor portfolios.
Asia is evolving rapidly, which has implications for investors globally. It should no longer be viewed as just a cheap manufacturing hub, but a region with high value-added industries catering to an increasingly wealthy middle class.
As we move further away from the turbulent period between 2007 and 2009, interest in credit has increased rapidly as investors globally search for extra return in a low yield environment.
If the RBA does cut interest rates, it is likely that they will make more than one cut, so we could see Australia's official cash rate at 2.00% by the second quarter of 2015.
Many empirical studies have shown that a value style approach to investing in Australian shares has consistently outperformed growth investing - and with less risk.
The three main points from our prior report on this topic have not changed; however, there are a few more anomalies in the data this time.
2014 has become a landmark year for green bonds, having become one of the few sustainable investment instruments to reach a suitable scale and poised to enter the mainstream for global institutional investors.
Equity investors should not fret too much about weak macro data, as Japanese companies have been able to overcome such for nearly a decade through rationalization and improved corporate governance.
The ultimate beneficiary of most of the manager's investment decisions is an individual investor with particular needs and requirements. This may sound obvious, but actually it often gets ignored.
Moody's downgrade of Japan to A1 will likely have very little effect on bond yields, the economy or risk-asset psychology. The major reason why is due to its odd premise of predicting too much success of Abenomics, while most market observers are not so optimistic.
Three important things to know about the recently announced Japanese GDP statistics that indicated that the country was in a recession.
The argument within the investment community over which offers better results continues to rage. However, we think that a more important question is being missed—are investors getting what they expect from the two investment styles?
We examined the relationship between a country's working age population and its listed company corporate earnings for ten nations, and found that the relationship is ambiguous at best, with correlations ranging from positive to strongly negative.
Although there are potential flashpoints, there are some areas where the US President may be more willing to cooperate with the new Congress — such as being awarded the authority to fast track trade agreements, particularly the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
We have long reported on the role of the wealth effect, as its importance is vastly underestimated by local and foreign investors. The 2Q data for net financial assets shows a QoQ increase to a new historical high.
Update on Japan’s “Show me the Money” corporate governance — the dividend paid by TOPIX continues to rise towards its historic high, but the payout ratio has been stagnant for the past few months, as earnings continue to rally equally well.
Is political democracy good for economic growth and ultimately, stock markets in Asia? Indisputably, sound political systems are crucial for economic development and progress.
Our house view is that non-economic factors played the largest role in the recent market turbulence. We discuss these below and forecast their future development.
Physical credit spreads have remained at reasonably tight levels due to the ongoing search for yield — although global uncertainty in the Middle East, fears about Ebola, and re-emerging concerns about Europe have generated negative sentiment.
The Australian economy seems to be struggling to achieve traction as the mining boom transitions from a capital expenditure phase to a shipment phase.
Prior to the global financial crisis, nearly $17 trillion of developed nation bonds were rated AAA. Now there are less than $2 trillion. Not only has supply been restricted, but also diversity, with the number of AAA rated countries falling from 15 to 9.
A confluence of factors worked against the Australian market during the month. Regulatory concerns in the banking sector, lower commodity prices and a weaker Australian dollar were the key drivers of the market’s underperformance.
Much as we expected, China’s economy has continued to slow faster than consensus, but does not appear to be in a hard landing.
In the Australian credit market, the relative lack of supply compared with demand continues to cause spreads to tighten in the physical market offsetting the risks of an unstable geopolitical environment.
Reasons for the recent weakness in the AUD include a fall in the iron ore price, the rally in the US dollar, weaker Chinese data, and indications that the Reserve Bank of Australia is considering macroprudential controls.
Improving the number of independent directors and other governance issues are very important in the intermediate term for Japan, but it is crucial for investors to understand that much of the profitability message has already been understood by Japanese corporate for nearly a decade.
Japan’s pipeline inflation, which we measure using the recently renamed Producer Price Index’s Finished Consumer Goods for Domestic Demand sub-component continued to be quite depressed in August.
Japan’s 2Q GDP growth, at -7.1% QoQ SAAR, was far below June’s consensus of -3.1% (and our -2.5% estimate) and we need to reduce our CY14 forecast, but not by much and we remain more optimistic than consensus.
Although not a Goldilocks scenario, our forecasted macro-backdrop is quite positive for global equities.
G-3 bond yields rose less than we predicted, mostly due to continued ECB aggressiveness, worries about the Chinese economy and the decline in oil prices.
Sentiment about Fed policy remains very volatile, but Yellen has remained remarkably stable in her outlook and bond prices have remained under control during the transition away from ultra-accommodative levels.
Nikko AM’s Global Investment Committee met on September 26th and updated our house view on the global economic backdrop, financial markets and investment strategy advice. In sum, there certainly are some worrisome issues, as always, but we find none of them convincing enough to halt the upward momentum in equity prices.
Credit spreads generally continued to tighten in August, although Australian physical spreads were mainly flat over the month.
At its 2 September meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia again left the official cash rate on hold at 2.50%, and the Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index slipped back into negative territory in August, following a brief stabilisation in July.
Domestically produced goods and imported finished consumer goods both rose mildly MoM. This must be causing much doubt at the BOJ about achieving the 2% Core CPI target.
As for the entire Eurozone, its trade surplus in goods and services remains near record highs, but it is not increasing further, so it is no longer supportive of GDP growth.
Regarding our long-standing theme of rebalancing in the Eurozone, recent trends have been more negative, so we offer this summary with some relevant charts.
Last month we described Japan’s “Show me the Money” corporate governance as regards the sharp rise in corporate profit margins to new highs. This theme is paralleled by the trend in dividend payments.