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.
The minutes from the July Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes revealed that several participants favoured raising rates sooner than previously anticipated, if inflation and employment prints continue to improve more rapidly than the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) expectations.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets gave back some of the year-to-date (YTD) outperformance versus its global peers. The MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan index returned 0.8% in the month of August, underperforming the MSCI World by 1.4%.
The US dollar has been gaining against the yen since mid-August and is currently trading at around ¥106, as the yen continues to weaken and the dollar strengthens.
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.
Improving US economic fundamentals have marginally offset the heightened geopolitical concerns in Russia/Ukraine and Israel/Gaza, leading to the sell-off in risk-free assets in July.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets outperformed their global counterparts, bolstered by strong price returns in China and Hong Kong which were up 7.3% and 6% in USD terms respectively.
As part of its growth strategy, the Japanese government has proposed strengthening corporate governance. The proposal aims to enhance the profitability of private sector firms and ultimately to improve the economic lot of the general population.