With the dollar/yen hovering around JPY120 to the U.S. dollar, Japanese stocks have recently been showing extraordinary strength, marked by the Nikkei 225 breaching the JPY20,000 level on April 10 for the first time in roughly 15 years – a level that it retook on 22 April and has stayed close to ever since.
Defaults from Chinese companies have been on the headlines recently. First, the default of property developer Kaisa Group last Monday (20 April 2015) was expected given the challenges in the ongoing debt restructuring.
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.
Coupled with our expectation for global bond yields to rise moderately, we maintain our overweight view on global equities vs. bonds.
Prices of the US Treasuries (USTs) weakened in February, with yields of the 10-year USTs higher by about 35 basis points (bps).
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 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.
US Treasuries (USTs) rallied in January, with the 10-year UST yield ending the month at 1.64% which was 53 basis points (bps) lower than end-December.
According to the 2014 Labour Survey recently released by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, total cash earnings – i.e., the total of contractual cash earnings (such as fixed monthly salaries) and other special cash earnings (such as bonuses) – of Japanese workers rose 0.8% in 2014, the first such rise in four years.
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...