As widely expected, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25bps in December, its third rate hike this year. It also raised its GDP forecast for 2018.
We see the key investment themes to drive performance in Global Credit in 2018 to be similar to last year. Using the output of our initial market assessment, we have developed our investment themes: Long US High Yield, Long Chinese Tier1 SOEs, Long European Hybrids, Long European Financials, Long Rising Stars.
For 2018 and beyond, we see a story of central bank policy normalization and foresee the global economy growing in a similar fashion to how it did in 2017: low growth coupled with comparatively low inflation data.
We expect the economic backdrop for Asian credits to remain constructive in 2018, but remain cognizant of several risks including rising interest rates, robust supply, unexpected weakness in China, geopolitical developments and cross-asset volatility.
The global recovery is expected to continue, albeit at a more moderate pace. Meanwhile, we see policy normalisation and an acceleration of inflation in Asia. Political action will move to South Asia in the wake of upcoming elections there.
US Treasury (UST) yields declined during the month. The nomination of Jerome Powell as the next US Federal Reserve (Fed) chairman overshadowed stronger US economic data, but was subsequently offset by increased geopolitical risks in the Middle East and a setback to US tax reform.
US Treasuries (USTs) fell in October, as prospects of higher growth and inflation increased after the US Senate approved the Republican-backed budget for 2018.
US Treasuries declined in September, prompted by the possibility of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December and Trump's tax reform bill being passed by Congress.
The US Treasury (UST) market grinded higher in August. Rising tensions in the Korean peninsula and a lack of direction from the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank on the outlook for monetary policy put pressure on US Treasury yields.
US Treasury (UST) yields ended largely unchanged in July following soft US inflation print, dovish comments from the Federal Reserve and expectations of an autumn policy shift from the European Central Bank. Overall, 10-year UST yields ended the month at 2.30%, about 0.9 basis points (bps) lower compared to the previous month.
US Treasury (UST) yields were range-bound for the most part of June, before surging in the last few days of the month. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps), despite soft inflation data. Overall, 10-year UST yields ended the month at 2.30%, about 10 bps higher compared to the previous month.
Better-than-expected US non-farm payroll figures and a more favourable FOMC statement were offset by political uncertainties in Washington. FBI director James Comey's firing and investigations into possible ties between Trump's election campaign and Russia increased concerns of a set-back in the president's economic agenda. 10-year UST yields ended the month at 2.20%, about 8 basis points (bps) lower compared to end-April levels.
Asia Credit is significant enough as an asset class to be considered separately, and its high grade segment could be a relative safe haven if EMD flows reverse.
On 24 May 2017, Moody’s downgraded China’s sovereign credit rating to A1 from Aa3 citing expectations that China’s “financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows”. The rating agency has placed the outlook for the rating at negative since March 2016.
On 19 May 2017, S&P upgraded Indonesia’ sovereign rating to BBB- with a stable outlook from BB+ with a positive outlook. In the longer term, the market is expecting that this rating upgrade will result in inflows of as much as USD 5bn into the bond market, particularly from Japanese investors who require a full investment grade rating from the three rating agencies.
10-year US Treasury (UST) yields ended the month at 2.28%, about 11 basis points (bps) lower compared to end-March levels. Mixed economic data and rising geopolitical tensions drove sentiment over the month. Towards the month-end, market sentiment improved after pro-euro French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron secured the most number of votes in the first round of elections.
US Treasury (UST) yields rose in the first half of the month buoyed by hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve (Fed), a solid US jobs report and possible scale back of quantitative easing (QE) by the European Central Bank (ECB). While the Fed raised short-term interest rates, as expected, the absence of a more hawkish tone from the central bank triggered a drop in UST yields.
US Treasury (UST) yields traded in a tight range in February. Risk assets rallied and UST yields rose in the first half of the month, on the back of the prospect of tax cuts and a Dodd-Frank overhaul in the US. Subsequently, yields were pressured lower by concerns about a possible victory by Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential elections. Overall, the 2-year and 10-year points on the UST curve ended the month about 6 basis points (bps) higher and 6bps lower respectively.
US Treasury (UST) yields ended higher in January as weaker-than-expected payroll data led markets to moderate their forecasts for Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hikes in 2017. Overall, 2-year and 10-year UST yields rose about 2 and 1 basis points (bps) respectively in the month.
Credit markets are expected to have another positive year. We expect economic growth in Asia to be stable but see some potential downside risks. In Europe, political risk remains high for 2017. Some of our key themes are: hybrid bonds, financials, oil/emerging markets and High Yield.
2016 was a year of surprises. The Federal Reserve (Fed) backtracked on its outlook on interest rate hikes, Britain voted to leave the European Union, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a resounding defeat in the Italian referendum, and Donald Trump triumphed over Hillary Clinton to become the 45th US President. Commodities rallied, owing partly to low base effects and reflationary expectations following Trump’s win. Against such a backdrop, risk-free rates had a volatile run, with the US Treasury (UST) yield curve shifting higher in the year.
USTs weakened further in December, as caution prevailed following the November sell-off. As widely expected, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps). 10-year UST yields ended the month at 2.44%, about 6 basis points (bps) higher compared to end-November levels.
2016 was a year of surprises. The Federal Reserve (Fed) backtracked on its outlook on interest rate hikes, Britain voted to leave the European Union, Donald Trump triumphed over Hillary Clinton to become the 45th US President, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a resounding defeat in the Italian referendum.
We are currently in a position where we are facing more questions than answers regarding Trump's policy stance as he comes into office and how it will affect the market.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
We expect the impact of Britain’s exit from the EU on Asia’s economic activity to be relatively muted, as the region has comparatively low trade links with the UK. Plus updates on US Treasuries, Singapore, India, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and others.
The immediate fallout from the Brexit win has been a strong flight to safety.
US Treasury yields remained largely unchanged in May. The impact of a disappointing US payroll figure was offset by the release of the US Federal Reserve’s April meeting minutes, which revealed that most policymakers favoured a rate hike in June should the US economy continue to improve.
Continued easy monetary policy in Europe and Japan will be supportive for global interest rates, but the case for further limited rate hikes in the US remains in place for 2016.
Yields of USTs climbed steadily for the most part in the month. Hopes of stabilization in the Chinese economy, due to recent economic numbers printing better than expected, underpinned demand for riskier assets.
US Treasuries ended mostly higher in March, while risk assets rallied. Although US labour data mitigated fears of a recession, the Federal Reserve now expects to raise interest rates twice this year.
Oil prices were at the forefront of investor attention in February. Risk assets started the month on weak footing, weighed down by stumbling oil prices and worries about teh health of European banks.
In 2015, the US Federal Reserve began the process of interest rate normalisation. Short-term bonds underperformed long duration bonds, on expectations of the ongoing US economic recovery remaining weak, and US inflation being anchored at current low levels.
US Treasuries registered gains in January. Global investors again focused on China at the start of the period, as successive weaker USDCNY fixings.
The current depreciation trend of the RMB against USD should be seen as a broad-based depreciation of the RMB and not bilaterally to the USD. The trend started from the second week of November 205 and it is clear that the move was planned well ahead.
2015 has been a tumultuous year with a plethora of risk events spurring significant volatility across most asset classes. Against this background, Asia USD credit delivered a modest return compared to 2014, but still a decent one when compared to other asset classes.
USTs ended lower in December, trading in a relatively tight range over the period. The US Fed began the process of interest rate normalisation.