What is more important for credit spreads in the current environment: the fundamentals or central bank actions? Our research suggests that since 2010 the answer has been central banks and, in particular, the US Federal Reserve.
For the next 12 months, we are quite positive on performance prospect for global credit, singling out five investment themes.
Nikko Asset Management's Global Investment Committee met on March 29th and updated our intermediate-term house view on the global economic backdrop, central bank policies, financial markets and investment strategy advice.
We expect June and December Fed hikes, but only mild further easing ahead for the BOJ and ECB. Meanwhile, we expect oil prices to creep higher through 2016 despite the stronger USD due to relatively firm economic developments in China and the G-3.
We expect that global equity and bond investing will be positive for Yen based investors due to Yen weakness, but for USD based investors, we are taking only a neutral stance on global equities due to a cautious forecast for US equities, whereas we are positive on Asia-Pac ex Japan, Japan and Europe. Meanwhile, we are moderately negative on bonds in each region when measured in USD terms, so we underweight them.
While a recession in the US is not our base scenario, the impact of such an event on credit exposure is worthy of consideration. In our historical analysis we've found that the driver of past recessions can provide important insight into which credit maturities are most attractive.
US monetary policy grows less independent as 2016 unfolds and risks to global growth abound in a rebalancing China, a deflationary struggle in Europe and whispers of a Brexit.
5-year and 10-year US Treasuries (USTs) yields ended the month lower, at 1.21% and 1.74% respectively. Cautious sentiment around falling oil prices and the prospect of a delay in US Federal Reserve interest rate increases supported US Treasuries (USTs) over the month.
Our Global Credit staff in London detail their rationale behind concentrating on service sector exposure globally.
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.