Insights

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

New Zealand Equity Income Monthly (June 2024)

A look back at the past six months reveals the extent to which New Zealand’s equity market has missed out on the strength seen in many other global markets. Amid these struggles, however, the New Zealand market’s sensitivity to interest rates also offers a note of hope.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly (June 2024)

Given the current weakness in New Zealand’s economy, the key question regarding interest rates is not so much the direction they will take but when they are likely to be cut. The struggles seen in the economy span from GDP to employment and look set to persist for some time.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights From Tokyo (July 2024)

This month we focus on the surge in long-term JGB yields and whether it poses a threat to equities; we also discuss the potential upside for Japan’s small- and mid-cap stocks.

From beauty products to bicycles: the promising landscape of Asian small caps

Asian small caps, ranging from “indie” cosmetics brands to bicycle manufacturers, present a chance to get involved with the future economic powerhouses of the world. The strategic positioning, high growth potential, adaptability, and innovation of Asian small caps make them a compelling choice.

Biden – and the Markets’ - Big Gamble?

The US and most other authorities’ reaction to the Global Pandemic was to flood the financial system with cash, principally via the act of central banks buying government bonds. The sums involved were massive, in part because the authorities understandably did not know “just how bad the crisis would be” but also because there was a need in March 2020 to ensure that some financial institutions that were “the wrong side” of the bond market did not perish.

Time to revisit Chinese bonds from a global portfolio perspective

Recently, China has been frequently appearing in global headlines, although many of these stories are not particularly encouraging. Amidst a fixation with the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy, global markets may be missing the obvious, quieter China trade.

Global Investment Committee’s outlook: still growing but proceed with caution

Our central scenario is for positive GDP growth in most major economies, with mild upside risks to growth in all regions but Europe. Within this central scenario, we anticipate range-bound inflation with a gradual disinflationary trend in the US and Europe. We expect reflation to continue in Japan and also to pick up in China.
Markets have continued their strong growth through 2024, as odds continue to grow that central banks are able to walk the tight rope and avoid any real slowdown of global growth. US inflation has remained above expectations. However, some marginal softness is now appearing to flow through consumer spending and employment.
The early economic cycle dynamics and cheap valuations in Asia contrast starkly with the expensive late cycle dynamics in the West, and we expect this to provide good diversification options for global investors.
We have shifted to a mildly positive stance on overall duration, preferring high-yield markets such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines. We expect Asia credit to remain well-supported due to subdued net new supply as issuers continue to access cheaper onshore funding.

BOJ takes a slow, steady approach to reducing bond purchases

The Bank of Japan maintained interest rates at its June meeting, disappointing market participants who expected a reduction in monthly bond purchases. The BOJ signalled a future reduction in bond purchases but only at the next policy meeting in July, without providing further guidance on possible rate hikes or balance sheet reductions.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly (May 2024)

New Zealand's fixed income market has struggled so far in 2024 and inflation has remained high. However, there is growing confidence that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will lower the Official Cash Rate in the next six to 18 months due to a slowing economy, with the expectation that inflation will retreat to the central bank's target range by the end of 2024.

New Zealand Equity Monthly (May 2024)

New Zealand’s equity market is currently facing challenging times. However, a sense that the country’s interest rates may have peaked are some of the indications that the market’s outlook may brighten.

India’s election and implications for equities

In the 2024 Indian parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP won fewer seats than expected. However, with support from pre-alliance partners, Prime Minister Modi will lead a coalition government for a third term, indicating a public desire for policy continuity and reform. While economic fundamentals are strong, the election results also reflect rural distress and the need for job creation, suggesting the government may focus on expanding the manufacturing sector, infrastructure development and digitalisation.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights From Tokyo (June 2024)

This month we look beyond Japan’s impressive dividends and share buybacks from the perspective of corporate governance reform; we also explain how the “quantity effect” associated with exports may reduce the relevance of currency levels.

The Future isn’t What it Was.

In the days immediately following 9-11, markets understandably fretted that consumer spending would collapse as people would be too scared to go out. In fact, spending picked up – even the author’s usually frugal spending increased.

As the market comes to grips with the US rate structure potentially remaining high, we expect to see increased market volatility and a potential return of the positive correlation between bond and equities that was evident in the market through 2022.

The yen: how weak is too weak?

The ongoing weakness in the yen has led to intense debate over whether Japan can cope with further challenges to its global purchasing power. Although it is a matter of concern, a weak currency isn't necessarily undermining Japan's economic recovery. That said, a prolonged downtrend for the yen warrants vigilance as it could destabilise the economic recovery by triggering inflation.
In terms of duration exposure, we maintain a positive outlook for medium-term duration, finding the current yield levels attractive. We expect Asia credit to remain well-supported due to subdued net new supply as issuers continue to access cheaper onshore funding.
What a difference a month can make. Discussions have pivoted from interest rate cuts in the US to the possibility of an increase, while Chinese equities have rallied sharply on a combination of attractive value and hopes of effective policy implementation.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly (April 2024)

Despite the decline in one- and two-year inflation expectations, we feel that the longer term picture is likely to be dominated by broader secular forces, or prolonged trends not necessarily tied to cyclical factors, that structurally drive inflation.

Could ESG reporting rules spark an EU-US trade war?

The US presidential election in November continues to cast a long shadow, and as the race between the 45th (Donald Trump) and 46th (incumbent Joe Biden) presidents quickens, divisions have only widened. The investment world is no exception, and one particularly troubling battleground is the growing regulatory divide regarding ESG reporting.

New Zealand Equity Monthly (April 2024)

New Zealand is seeing its first set of climate-related disclosures. Under this regime which began in January 2023, large organisations release "climate statements" about the potential impact of their operations on the climate and vice versa, according to standards set by the country’s External Reporting Board.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights From Tokyo (May 2024)

This month we analyse why the influence of capex and wages on spending behaviour are key to gauging whether an inflationary mindset is taking hold among households; amid an adjustment by Japanese stocks from record highs, we also look for growth narratives to sustain a long term uptrend.

Will Quantitative Easing Return Soon?

This may appear an odd question to ask given the recent slew of poor inflation data points that have been released but we suspect that “all is not quite as it seems” within bond markets, or even the global economy. First, the inflation story.

Investing in Japan: an insider's perspective with Naomi Fink

Naomi Fink recently joined Nikko Asset Management as a Global Strategist based in Tokyo. We sat down with Naomi to discuss her personal relationship with Japan, and to hear her views on arguably the most talked-about investment region in the world at present.

Global Equity Quarterly Q1 2024

Dreams have a place in the world. However, in stock markets, cashflows often serve as gravity when share prices display dream-like behaviour. Fortunately, our Future Quality philosophy, coupled with our consistent process of reviewing the portfolio and ranking stocks, will help us separate dreams from reality. As a result, the portfolio is performing well, especially due to stock selection outside of AI and across all sectors.

BOJ stands pat on policy but paves way for future rate hikes

The Bank of Japan kept interest rates steady as expected while upping its CPI forecast, paving the way for future rate hikes. Any further hawkish stance by the BOJ may depend on the persistence of positive real wages and inflation's impact on consumer purchasing power.
Inflation uncertainty seems increasingly entrenched, which is less kind to developed market sovereign bonds. The US fiscal deficit is very large, and the Federal Reserve (Fed) is now in the challenging position of deciding when to cut rates. Energy remains a good hedge in this environment, and gold is increasingly being recognised as a store of value.
The Chinese economy and its equity market continue to be significant focal points in broader Asia. Additional support measures, combined with a recalibration of market expectations, have helped Chinese equities recover from the panic selling witnessed towards the end of 2023 and into January. As a result, fundamental strengths are being recognised in certain areas.
We maintain a positive outlook for Asian local government bonds, particularly those from India, Indonesia and the Philippines. In our view, the disinflation trends in these countries should provide their central banks with the flexibility to shift towards rate cuts later in the year.

Of volcanic activity and Asian fixed income markets

We highlight the importance of making decisions based on probabilities and the best expected outcomes, assessing relevant information and acting ahead in constantly changing market conditions.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights From Tokyo (April 2024)

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) lifted interest rates for the first time in 17 years in March, making a historic departure from negative interest rates. We provide an overall evaluation of its decision, discuss how long accommodative monetary conditions could still last, analyse the yen’s potential policy impact and assess the BOJ’s options after halting ETF purchases.

Global Investment Committee’s outlook: stronger for longer

The Global Investment Committee sees robust corporate earnings, firm employment and expectations for rate cuts keeping markets more buoyant than anticipated by average consensus estimates.

Disequilibrium Economics

Major “events” in markets have been caused by wrong assumptions over mathematical relationships. The Long Term Capital Management Debacle (LTCMD) in 1998 was primarily the result of the incorrect assumption of perfect markets by a cluster of Nobel Laureates. The naïve and wrong assumptions over correlations proved to be the spectacular undoing of the mortgage markets in 2007-8.

Future Quality Insights: healthcare offers diversification from market hot spots

We remain very strong supporters of the healthcare sector. In addition to the well-known demographic drivers, innovation is enabling structural changes in healthcare delivery and in our view these changes will confer years of strong organic growth opportunities if we choose the right companies.
Japanese households, long under-invested in financial markets, are expected to play a significant part in the country’s “virtuous circle” of reflation as they seek returns capable of keeping up with inflation.

Trump vs. Biden II: what implications could the US election have for sustainable fixed income?

The stage is now set for a Biden versus Trump rematch in November. So, what does this mean for sustainable bonds?
Improving economic dynamics defy conventional logic of what one would expect from one of the most aggressive tightening cycles in history. However, if one considers the magnitude of the 2020 expansion in money supply, there is still significant excess liquidity, perhaps transmitting to resilient demand and cash flow that so far exceeds the headwinds of higher rates.
We think that there could be some short-term rebound in China as valuations are in extreme oversold territory. However, for the rally to be more sustainable, we are monitoring for a few drivers, including supply-side measures that can resolve China’s main housing issues.
We maintain a positive outlook for Asian local government bonds, particularly India, Indonesia and Philippine bonds. In our view, the disinflation trends in these countries should provide the Reserve Bank of India, Bank Indonesia and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas with the flexibility to shift towards rate cuts later in the year.
The Asian REIT market is the second-largest REIT market globally, but there is still plenty of room for growth. As REIT regulations and listing processes become increasingly market-friendly in newer REIT markets, we expect more asset owners to securitise their real estate into REIT products, driving greater investor interest.

BOJ takes significant yet incremental step on path back to “normal” rates

The “trial balloons” of media announcements in advance of today’s interest rate hike by the Bank of Japan —its first in 17 years—apparently did their job, as the end of its negative interest rate policy, yield curve control and ETF purchases were smoothly digested by markets.

Assessing the impact of green bonds

The green bond market has experienced tremendous growth since 2007, but despite its rapid success, there are still barriers to overcome. In particular, assessing the impact of green bonds continues to be a contentious topic.

Nikkei reaches all-time high: five reasons the rally will endure

Japan equity was the best-performing asset class in 2023, but despite the Nikkei reaching all-time highs in 2024, Japan also recently experienced economic contraction. Against that backdrop, Japan Equity Investment Director Junichi Takayama offers five reasons why Japan’s economic resurgence still has ample runway.

Vietnam seeing a full turnaround in fortunes

We visited Vietnam in February and found that business and economic prospects have turned around completely for the better from a year ago. Interest rates have normalised, and mortgage terms are the most favourable that we have ever seen in Vietnam.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly – February 2024

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) maintained the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 5.5% at its latest Monetary Policy Committee meeting on 28 February, meaning that New Zealand’s interest rates have now been kept on hold for over nine months. We agree with the RBNZ’s decision to keep the OCR unchanged and feel that most indicators are moving in the central bank’s favour.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights from Tokyo (March 2024)

This month we focus on the prospect of Japanese stocks sustaining their upward trajectory after reaching record highs; we also assess how the country’s Q4 GDP contraction sharpens the focus on consumption and wages in 2024.

Can the Rest of the World Live with the USA?

Currently, the US economy is stuttering. Headline growth during the latter half of 2023 was extremely rapid – GDP growth averaged more than twice the economy’s 20-year average - but this strong activity was led by the public sector, either directly through government investment or indirectly via the authorities’ support for household incomes.

Why we should pay special attention to Japan’s Q4 capex surge

One of Japan’s more recent economic releases made us sit up and take notice. Within the very resilient Q4 capital expenditure figures released this week was one important reinforcing indicator of Japan’s structural recovery, or in the Bank of Japan’s language, its “virtuous circle” of reflation. One near-term positive development for Japan is the very real possibility that the “technical recession” in Japan Q4 GDP (down 0.4% quarter-on-quarter) could be, thanks to unexpectedly strong Q4 capex, revised away.
This is the “swan song” of this report, which comes at an appropriate time because it was always meant to prove to readers that corporate governance, and the overall case for investing in Japanese equities, was sound. Now that the market’s performance and global enthusiasm for Japan has swelled, there is less need for the report, although it is useful to note the continuance of its impressive trend.
We explain how reflationary dynamics underpin the foundations of Japan’s incipient structural recovery and illustrate why we believe the country’s equity comeback should not be written off as another flash-in-the-pan cyclical upturn headed for an eventual return to deflationary dynamics.
The seemingly impossible soft landing on the back of one of the most aggressive monetary tightening cycles in history is looking not just possible, but increasingly probable. US data is coming in stronger and global demand is generally steady with increasing channels of potential upside.

Biodiversity is next for green bond expansion

Our economic system is based on a model of take, make and waste that consistently over-utilises and fails to replenish Earth’s valuable, but dwindling resources. The need to transform how we interact with nature creates a major opportunity for the green bond universe. So far, issuers have successfully embraced funding the transition toward carbon neutrality, but far fewer are looking at regenerative biodiversity projects or initiatives that seek to protect our ecosystems from loss.

The climate change megatrend

Although once-in-a-generation exceptional weather events now risk becoming alarmingly routine, there is still time to turn the tide. This need for immediate action is why we define climate change as an investment megatrend, and we believe Green and Sustainable Bonds have a vital role to play.

Energy security and Future Quality

Our Future Quality investment philosophy revolves around identifying companies that have pricing power, possess management teams that invest will appropriately, boast strong balance sheets and offer opportunities that are not yet priced in by the market. This approach will remain constant in 2024 although we are also acutely aware of the significant impact energy security will have on global decarbonisation efforts.
The Indian market remains attractive. It has the highest earnings growth in the Asian region, valuations that are in the middle of its historic range and an economy that is growing strongly with inflation under control.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly – January 2024

Despite continued struggles with inflation in New Zealand and elsewhere, our view is that the RBNZ’s next change to the OCR is likely to be downward, albeit at a later timing than the market has recently been expecting.

New Zealand Equity Monthly –January 2024

We view 2024 with optimism—markets could begin to be driven by company earnings rather than by inflation outcomes and interest rate expectations as they have in the past year, and New Zealand’s market is well placed to shrug off volatility experienced in 2023.
We expect an anticipated decrease in developed market bond yields, coupled with enhanced foreign inflows, to bolster demand for Asian bonds. We see Asia credit remaining well supported with subdued net new supply as issuers continue to access cheaper onshore funding.

The Future Quality approach to navigating the AI arms race

The emergence of AI has dramatically shifted the future pathway for the technology sector, and our research has found that this emerging structural trend chimes with our Future Quality principles.

Realigning fixed income with purpose

While fixed income issuance has become a standard mechanism for governments and companies to raise finance, it often lacks a defined purpose. However, the growing trend of responsible investing is changing that. The need to tackle our planet’s many climate, environmental and societal challenges is reuniting fixed income with its sense of purpose.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights from Tokyo (February 2024)

This month we discuss how emerging growth narratives such as semiconductors may come into focus in 2024; we also assess the slightly hawkish turn the BOJ took at its January policy meeting.

Japan’s reform measures pave the way for an exceptional 2024

Last year, global investors turned their attention firmly towards Japan as a way of increasing their Asia exposure while avoiding perceived geopolitical and regulatory risks linked to China, and amid the high inflation environment dominating western economies. But this year, Japan’s success is more based on its own merits.

The US economy continues to look robust, so we have stayed constructive on growth assets and short maturity global credit where yields are attractive. We still believe that the path to 2% inflation in the US is relatively unclear. If anything, our conviction on this point has increased because easier financial conditions may ultimately pave the way for the return of sticky inflation.

The peaking of interest rates and potentially the US dollar could be a boon for broader markets—particularly those more sensitive to liquidity, countries with more room to ease rates and areas where positive fundamental changes have been overlooked. China’s economy is undergoing a major transition into one that promotes advanced manufacturing, technology, self-sufficiency and higher-end overseas growth. These are areas of our focus.

We expect macro and corporate credit fundamentals across Asia ex-China to stay resilient due to fiscal buffers although slower economic growth seems to loom over the horizon.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights from Tokyo (January 2024)

This month we discuss why the equity market is relatively unaffected by the political scandal shaking Japan’s ruling party; we also assess how 2024 could become an inflection point in the country’s “savings to investments” drive.

Narratives and Liquidity: A Personal Journey

In my experience, there is nothing so powerful for asset markets as an “unquantifiable positive story and a tonne of liquidity”. Russell Napier’s Library of Mistakes in Edinburgh looks brilliantly at some of the madness that has taken hold of financial markets over the centuries (well worth a visit if you are ever nearby), and of course Edward Chancellor’s Devil take the Hindmost is the seminal text on the subject of credit-financed investment madness, but I have seen my fair share of mad booms firsthand.

Although we believe that the prospects for the economy remain mostly unchanged, the outlook is softer at the margins, perhaps reflecting the tightening of financial conditions seen during the recent months. Over the past month, however, financial conditions have eased considerably on the assumption of impending rate cuts.

New Zealand markets outlook 2024: the only certainty is more uncertainty

Given the volume of quality defensive companies with relatively high dividend yields, higher for longer interest rates are a significant headwind for New Zealand’s equity markets. Alongside these, the country’s globally-focused export companies will be looking for the global growth story to play out positively, but for the meantime will at least be enjoying a relatively weak New Zealand dollar.

Corporate governance reform points to opportunities ahead in Japan equities

Japan may not be known for quick, sweeping reforms. However, developments in the country’s corporate governance over the last 10 years suggest that once changes are set in motion, they can have a deep and lasting impact, raising the value of its companies and creating investment opportunities along the way.

Global Investment Committee’s outlook

We expect poor 1Q24 returns for MSCI World after the 4Q23 surge, but a more positive trend for the rest of 2024. Regionally, we much prefer Japan in the year ahead. Our view on global bonds for USD-based investors is that they are preferred during much of the 1H, but only marginally attractive in the 2H.

We expect sentiment toward Asia’s bond markets to turn increasingly positive in 2024. We also expect macro and corporate credit fundamentals across Asia ex-China to stay resilient on the back of fiscal buffers, although slower economic growth appears to loom over the horizon.

Despite short-term negatives, we believe that China continues to offer ample long-term growth opportunities as the country pivots towards advanced manufacturing and technology. Elsewhere, some of the best growth stories globally could be found in India and Indonesia, while Taiwan and South Korea are expected to continue benefitting from a modest upcycle as the semiconductor industry recovers.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights from Tokyo (December 2023)

We discuss how a bullish year for Japan equities has brought what was previously out of sight into view and analyse focal points for the market as we head into 2024; we also assess how focusing on efficiency and growth could be the way forward for Japan given its projected drop in the GDP rankings.

Global multi-asset outlook 2024

Our investment themes for 2024 focus on key features of a world in transition. They include higher-for-longer rates, production shortages in natural resources and the search for new sources of productivity. Transitions are never easy, and features of the old world accustomed to low rates may not make it. We believe that some of these old-world features could pose systemic risks as “creative destruction” does not always run smoothly.

New Zealand Equity Monthly – November 2023

November was a stronger month for equities given that central banks around the world began suggesting that interest rates have peaked. While we do not expect to see any rate cuts in the near term, investors appear to believe that the worst is over in terms of rate increases. That view has been beneficial for New Zealand’s equity market, which bounced back by about 4% in November.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly – November 2023

Amid significantly negative returns in both the equity and fixed income markets at the end of last year, it was thought that 2023 would be the “year of the bond”. As we near the end of 2023, however, the bond market is still yet to live up to those expectations. Even so, our view is that the upswing for bonds has been deferred but not cancelled. Although cash has been king for the last two to three years, we believe bonds are now poised to take the crown.

Global equity outlook 2024

We are heading into a changing world, where the more recent past can no longer be relied on to guide our path forward. But we are not blindfolded. There are tools we can use to provide a greater degree of certainty. Our Future Quality approach is designed to help us identify franchises that are set to endure.

Global fixed income outlook 2024

We present our 2024 outlook for sustainable fixed income, core markets and credit markets.

Japan equity outlook 2024

We expect 2024 to be a year of domestic consolidation and long-term reform measures, where markets are driven more by Japan-specific events than by global factors. After decades of deflation, we see Japan as finally breaking out of this cycle in 2024, as it enters a virtuous cycle of price increases and wage hikes.

Global macro outlook 2024

Much like this report in 2023, global conditions will remain unique and defy a confident overall summary; thus, here are ten predictions on some particularly noteworthy factors.

Asian rates and FX outlook 2024

We expect 2024 to be a year of higher returns and lower volatility for Asian local government bonds as US Treasury yields are seen stabilising. We also see Asian currencies firming against the dollar in 2024 as the Federal Reserve’s rate hike cycle comes to an end.

ASEAN equity outlook 2024

We believe ASEAN will offer good pockets of growth and quality opportunities, as well as earnings resilience and protection amid some of the prevailing global macro headwinds.

Asian equity outlook 2024

Considering that major tech companies are profitable, cash rich and cannot afford to lose out in the highly competitive AI race, spending on high-end computing and neural networks looks set to continue in 2024. This will likely create a lasting boon to many component suppliers (the so-called picks and shovels of AI) across Asia.

Asian credit outlook 2024

We expect fundamentals and technical backdrop for Asian credit to remain supportive in 2024. However, valuation is a challenge with current Asian high-grade spreads near historical lows. The myriad cyclical and structural factors driving the major sub-sectors within Asian high-yield credit makes it is difficult to call the overall spread direction in 2024, although the current spread level remains wide and offers room for compression over the medium term.

Singapore equity outlook 2024

We believe that our “New Singapore” narrative focusing on sectors and companies that represent the future of the city-state will remain relevant in 2024. Energy transition has risen to prominence within the New Singapore narrative in addition to data, technology, healthcare, logistics, tourism and food solutions.

China equity outlook 2024

For those willing to brave immediate challenges, we believe China will continue to offer long-term opportunities as the country has been working to become technologically self-sufficient and develop high-end technologies on its own in a more challenging regulatory environment.

Repressed Inflation May Bubble to the Surface Next Year

Whether for year-end management reasons, or as a result of political considerations, it is a fact that the US Federal Reserve has allowed effective monetary conditions to ease over the last month. The public sector has injected more than $200 billion of liquidity into the financial system. It therefore comes as no surprise that financial markets are booming, yields are tumbling and the dollar is weak, a situation that we expect to continue into year end.

The just-released 3Q CY23 data on Japan’s aggregate corporate profits was a bit mixed, but the overall corporate recurring pre-tax profit margin surged to a record high on a four-quarter average. The non-financial service sector rose to another record high, but the manufacturing sector fell further from its record high.

We have held on to our view that the “higher for longer” narrative is not necessarily bad for equities, as robust earnings are supported by a US economy that continues to grow at above-trend rates. However, we are also sympathetic to the de-rating process where earnings look simply less attractive compared to higher rates across the yield curve.

We expect macro and corporate credit fundamentals across Asia ex-China to stay resilient with fiscal buffers, although slower economic growth appears to loom over the horizon.

Future Quality Insights -November 2023-New regime, new learning

The last few quarters have been a good reminder that we are in a changing world. As a result, we need to focus always on investing in enduring franchises and we would suggest that our Future Quality approach is soundly placed in that regard. We also need to approach monetary policy with an open mind—sometime soon the central banks could change the game again. In surfing parlance, be ready with your trusted board and make the most of the conditions.

Credit spreads: not as tight as they seem

Recently many fixed income investors have experienced steep price declines in their bond portfolios. We have argued that it is not only duration that explains the interest risk of a portfolio, but that convexity needs to be accounted for as well. In this paper we point out that credit risk measures also have to be adjusted in an environment of declining bond prices.

New Zealand Equity Monthly – October 2023

In one of the most significant changes surrounding New Zealand’s equity market in recent years, the general election held in October delivered a change of government. Overall business sentiment has been generally positive after the election result. The outcome has been favourable for the aged care sector and building-exposed names. On the other hand, it has thrown up some uncertainties over the future of New Zealand’s environmental policy.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly – October 2023

The general election held in October resulted in a change in government for New Zealand. Although it is difficult to gain a full picture at this stage, we can make some key observations on monetary policy: the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s mandate could be pared back to ensure that its sole focus is on managing inflation.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights from Tokyo (November 2023)

We analyse the Bank of Japan’s decision to further tweak its yield curve control scheme amid the latest developments hinting at sustained wage growth; we also assess why an acute labour shortage could be a golden opportunity for Japan Inc. to change structurally.

While the risk-off environment stretched into another month, we are still finding plenty of positives in Asia. India’s macro remains favourable; Chinese equity markets are near the cheapest in 20 years; and the semiconductor industry is showing signs of a bottoming. With the US potentially having reached peak interest rates, this could be a welcome backdrop for Asian markets going forward.

These Are Era-Defining Times

It has been a wild few weeks within debt markets – sharp sell-offs, even sharper rallies, and then a renewed sell off. Movements in equity markets have looked tame by comparison. Bond markets are certainly having to process a lot of conflicting information – inflation, deflation, politics and a mountain of potential issuance next year following what was an amazingly quiet year for debt issuance in 2023.