Insights

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

How ASEAN's 3Rs Can Overcome Trade Wars

Our portfolio manager in Singapore explains why ASEAN might well benefit from the current US-China trade tensions and how the region’s three main strengths should keep economic growth strong.

Forbes: Trump Is Going To Hate This Trade Data

Not only did the US trade deficit expand in February, it showed particularly disturbing trends regarding the Eurozone and China.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

China's Move from Factory of the World to Silicon Valley of the East

With its advantages of a vast talent pool, financing and market access, China has most of the ingredients needed to transform into the “Silicon Valley of the East”

Global Ramifications of the Eurozone’s Huge Trade Surplus

Many economists and currency analysts, after years of ignoring such “old fashioned” indicators, are now talking about the massive trade surplus that the Eurozone enjoys with the world, but in particular with the US.

Markets continue to come to terms with the return of higher volatility, triggered ostensibly by fears of inflation and the unwinding of highly leveraged short volatility positions at the beginning of last month.

Forbes: Revisions Show U.S. Industrial Mini-Recession In 2015

Actually, it has not been one long expansion since 2009, as we now can see how the slumping oil price caused a mini-recession a few years back.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

LatAm Elections: The Lure of the Left

Our London-based Emerging Market fixed income analyst predicts increased volatility ahead for Latin American markets due to the threat of Leftist election victories this year, but that pro-market reforms will still progress.

House View: Continued Global Economic and Equity Reflation

Our updated view remains positive on the global economy and equity markets even as global bond yields rise a bit further. Our SPX target remains near 3000 by year end, with impressive gains elsewhere too.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - March 2018

A broad-based synchronized recovery continues to gain traction. Following the strongest year of global growth since 2010 (estimated at 3%) the consensus forecast for the current year looks to be even rosier.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - March 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index declined 5.0% in USD terms, as better US economic data prompted worries about inflation and expectations of faster interest rate rises from the Federal Reserve.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - March 2018

In February, US Treasuries (USTs) succumbed to a further sell-off, with yields rising across the curve prompted by better US economic data.

Japan Equity Monthly - March 2018

The Japanese equity market fell in February, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) dropping 3.70% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) tumbling 4.41%.

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance

In my view, Japan is the only major country that is going through a structural improvement in corporate governance, and, thus, deserves special attention by global investors.

In our 2018 outlook, we made the case for rising volatility as central banks across the developed world slowly remove the stimulus punch bowl, but few would have imagined volatility spiking with such a vengeance as it did in recent weeks.

Italian Elections: More of the Same Political Dysfunction

Poor economic and fiscal policies are, and will likely be, a recurring theme in Italian politics. However, from a trade perspective, we see Italy to remain a good carry/spread trade for at least the next twelve months against a backdrop of improving GDP growth in 2018 and 2019.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - February 2018

A broad-based synchronized recovery continues to gain traction. Following the strongest year of global growth since 2010 (estimated at 3%) the consensus forecast for the current year looks to be even rosier.

Japan Equity Monthly - February 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in January, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 1.06% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 1.47%.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - February 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 7.6% in USD terms in January, amid optimism about solid economic growth and corporate earnings. Asian currencies generally strengthened against the USD.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - February 2018

There was a sharp rise in US Treasury (UST) yields in January on the back of positive macro news, steady rise in oil prices and speculation that central banks in developed markets will start winding back on stimulus measures.

Forbes: 2% U.S. Core Inflation In Sight

Today's very high Core CPI result is one more indication that inflation is rising.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Forbes: The BOJ: Kuroda Again, But What's New?

The Japanese media are widely reporting that Governor Kuroda will be reappointed, which surprises very few people. Whether he wishes to finish his new five-year term is open to question, so the choice of Deputy Governor will likely be important.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Australian Household Debt — The Economic Cost of High House Prices

Over the past 15 years Australian house prices have been on an incredible run, resulting in Australian households becoming some of the most indebted in the world. So what is the economic cost of Australia’s sky high property prices and what could it mean for property prices in 2018?

Forbes: The New Fed And Why The MBS Market Will Likely Suffer

Both Fed candidates support tapering MBS holdings faster than the current plan. This would likely raise mortgage rates and tame US housing prices, which are likely rising too fast for comfort.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

MSCI Inclusion of Domestic ‘A’ Shares is China's Grand Entrance onto World Stage

Imagine a day when "Asia ex-China" portfolios are the norm. We think this is not too far-fetched an idea.

Forbes: Why Loretta Mester Should Be Fed Vice Chair

“Even though Mester is often perceived as a hawk, she is quite centrist in the current environment.”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

2018 Japan Equity Outlook

With the Nikkei Index breaching the 24,000 mark, its highest level in 26 years, Japan appears to have put its “lost decade” of growth well behind it.

Over the past few years, one of the main risks that concerned our team was the possibility that asset classes could become positively correlated.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - January 2018

A broad-based synchronised recovery continues to gain traction. Following the strongest year of global growth since 2010 (estimated at 3%) the consensus forecast for the current year looks to be even rosier.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - January 2018

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.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - January 2018

The MSCI AC ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 2.7% in USD terms in December, outperforming the MSCI AC World index which returned 1.4%.

From freezing the bubble to a beautiful China

A flying visit into China post the 19th Party Congress seemed like a good idea. I got the sense that post the conference, visibility and direction over the next five years was reasonably clear. But it is more difficult to hold a similar view for 2018.

Japan Equity Monthly - January 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in December, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 1.57% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 0.32%.

2018 Emerging Markets Outlook

Our Senior Portfolio Manager for Emerging Markets in London forecasts that in 2018, this asset class could well match 2017’s achievement.

2018 Developed Markets Outlook

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.

2018 Global Credit Outlook

We see the key investment themes to drive performance in Global Credit in 2018 to be similar to last year. We have developed our investment themes: Long US High Yield, Long Chinese Tier1 SOEs, Long European Hybrids, Long European Financials, Long Rising Stars.

Asian Credit Outlook 2018

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.

2018 Asian Rates and FX Outlook

The global recovery is expected to continue, albeit at a more moderate pace. Meanwhile, we foresee policy normalisation and an acceleration of inflation in Asia.

Will Plan Sponsors Be Ready for China A Shares?

China has not yet been fully incorporated into indices, creating a mismatch and a unique challenge to investors in navigating this new world order.

Despite geopolitical risks and central banks that will be less dovish than the market expects, the Global Investment Committee forecasts that the G-3 economies will grow faster than consensus and that global equity markets will remain very bullish in the intermediate term.

What lies ahead in 2018 – Thoughts of a Kiwi bond manager

Low global inflation and, until recently, a strong Kiwi dollar have kept New Zealand’s inflation rate low over many years, however things may be about to change.

From the Asian Equity Desk - Market Outlook 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 38.0% in USD terms year-to-date, on the back of a broad-based economic recovery. The Index outperformed the MSCI World Index, which rose 20.8% in USD terms in the same period.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - December 2017

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.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - December 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 0.6% in USD terms in November. The index approached ten-year highs during the month on expectations of continuity in US Federal Reserve policy and robust economic data, but gains were pared at month-end by a sell-off in technology heavyweights.

South Africa at a Crossroads

The imminent party election will be crucial in determining this major Emerging Market’s future.

Shale to the Chief: Can US Shale Oil Keep Up the Growth?

Having recently returned from the US, Stefan Hansen, Senior Research Analyst at Nikko AM Australia, shares his thoughts on US shale oil production and the potential impact on the oil price.

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance

The implications of a surprising decline in non-manufacturers’ profit margin.

Canada and Australia are not the same

From an economic perspective Canada and Australia share some common features, but we would caution that the performance of the two economies is substantially different than generalisations would suggest.

In 2018, our key focus is to produce and maintain alpha in stock selection. Looking back, the year of 2017 has indeed been a year of strong expansion in terms of equity performance and this has brought much cheer to investors.

Uncertainty in Germany – What are the options?

Even as the situation in Germany to form a new government is difficult, financial markets have reacted very mildly to the uncertainties.

May's Position in Question?

We think it is unlikely that May will be replaced within her own party. This is because there is a lack of an heir-apparent, and the Conservative Party would be extremely reluctant to even slightly increase the risk of another election.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - November 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 4.7% in USD terms in October, outperforming the MSCI World Index which returned 1.9%.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - November 2017

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.

Japan Equity Monthly - November 2017

The Japanese equity market rose in October, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 5.45% and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 8.16%.

Forbes: Powell & Some Fed Board Nightmare Scenarios

“Hopefully for the markets, the Fed transition will be smooth, but it might not be and hawkish Presidents may have much greater influence.”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

New Zealand's New Centre-Left Government Makes for Uncertain Times

Just as politics in other developed countries have recently taken on a more populist and/or anti-capitalist tone, so too has New Zealand’s.

Abe’s New Bull Market in Equities and Home Values

The Case for Abenomics and global reflation leading to a TOPIX level of 2500 in two years’ time.

A Pickup in the Chinese Economy – What to watch

To help bridge the gap between the perceived unreliability of Chinese statistics and the importance of analysing the world’s second largest economy, we look for measures which have less potential to be manipulated.

Will Investors Be Ready When Chinese Bonds Go Global?

Most bond index providers have started to recognize China’s financial market liberalisation and reform efforts. We think it is only a question of time before they are included in the main benchmark indices.

Japan Equity Monthly - October 2017

The Japanese equity market moved upwards in September, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 4.34% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 4.28%.

Asia High Grade Credit – A better European approach to Emerging Market Debt

A separate allocation to Asia IG offers European investors a way to mitigate risk within their EMD exposure.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - October 2017

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.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - October 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 0.1% in US dollar (USD) terms, underperforming the MSCI AC World Index which returned 2.2%. Profit-taking and currency weakness relative to the USD pressured returns in September.

The Rise of Chinese FDI into ASEAN

Our senior fixed income portfolio manager in Singapore explains why he is bullish on ASEAN currencies for the long-term.

House View: Global Economic and Equity Reflation Despite Less Dovish Central Banks

Despite geopolitical risks and less dovish central banks, the Global Investment Committee remains moderately optimistic about the global economy and equity markets, while being cautious on global bonds.

Germany's Election Results – What now?

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the time it will take before the formation of a new government, we do not think there is risk of major policy change in Germany. The election outcome, however, will likely weigh on the aspirations of France’s Macron for deeper Eurozone integration.

Developed Asia-Pacific: Growth Dynamics in Asia-Pacific – Crucial Differences in the Region

Given the shifting dynamics in the region, for investors interested in Asian equities, there are multiple options depending upon the level of risk they are willing to assume. This paper looks at the outlook for several countries in Asia-Pacific.

The Dangers of Averaging

When there are structural changes, simple data averaging often leads to wrong conclusions.

Japan Equity Outlook: “Investing in Japan vs. investing in Japanese companies”

Investing in Japan is not the same as investing in Japanese companies. Given the increase in their overseas exposure, we believe it is a good time to revisit opportunities in Japanese companies.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - September 2017

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.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - September 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index rose by 1.3% in US dollar (USD) terms, outperforming the MSCI AC World Index and bringing year-to-date returns to 31.1%. This was the eighth straight month of positive returns.

Forbes: New Info Shows Coordinated Monetary Policy Tightening Ahead

“There was an upward surprise in the US CPI data today, with the CPI exceeding the month-on-month (MoM) consensus estimate”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

“Although Mester and Yellen do not align closely with Trump’s values, they are at least professional central bankers and can likely be relied upon to drive a non-political, non-confrontational but most importantly a safe course for monetary policy and bank regulation.”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance

The release of the second quarter data on aggregate Japanese corporate profits confirms my twelve-year theme about improving corporate governance in Japan and how investors should not worry about the slow domestic economy.

Germany's Election Should Be Supportive

Our London-based Global Credit Portfolio Manager lays out the scenarios of the upcoming German election and its ramifications for select German credits.

Reforming India

Our equity portfolio manager who specializes in India concludes that reforms should have a very positive effect on that country’s growth.

Forbes: Why Global Equity Markets Are Ignoring Political Disorder

“Global investors and corporations should adhere to the model that political spats are no reason to get overly frightened or paralyzed.”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

China: the great disruptor of our time

As China’s economic development enters a more sophisticated and mature phase, it is beginning to challenge many of the status quos that have been taken for granted since the middle of the 20th century.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - August 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index rose by 5.3% in US dollar (USD) terms, outperforming the MSCI AC World Index and bringing year-to-date returns to 29.4%.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - August 2017

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.

Australian housing – Still waiting for the decline

We identify the fundamentals that have supported Australian housing and the signals that investors should look for to determine if this period of positive appreciation is coming to an end.

Creating Shared Value

This whitepaper explores the evolution of ESG, how Nikko Asset Management conducts it, and the impact that ESG has had on the investment industry.

Japan Equity Outlook: “Work style reform”

We think Japanese companies are poised for a pickup in capital expenditure, led by productivity enhancing investments.

Forbes: The Fed's Tabooed Tool

“Wall Street seems to have long had a hands-off warning to the Fed, which seems to have been very effective, but does this really deserve to be continued? Can Wall Street effectively regulate against speculative bubbles?”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Emerging Divergence as Unwinding of QE Gathers Pace

What is the prognosis for Emerging Markets as major global central banks begin to tighten policy?

Forbes: Taming The US And Chinese Goldilocks Twins

“When the two largest economies in the world are signaling that that they don’t want asset prices to rise too much, investors should take note to curtail any excessive optimism...”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Japan Equity Outlook - July 2017

In a survey conducted by the Nikkei in March 2017, 80% of respondent companies indicated that they were either planning or considering the implementation of productivity enhancing investments.

Equities and Income in an Ageing World — Why Dividends Matter

The ageing world presents significant savings and productivity challenges to this and subsequent generations of investors and workers. Change will no doubt remain a constant, as it has been throughout the last two centuries in particular.

China’s deleveraging – When and how will it end?

China’s dual goals of deleveraging and maintaining strong growth may not necessarily conflict, but they certainly pose a delicate balancing act for the government.

Asia High Grade Credit - A More Selective Approach

The rapid development of the Asia Credit markets provides new opportunities to improve the risk and return profile for investors.

Forbes: Bank Bailouts And Italian GDP Changed Draghi's View?

“ECB rhetoric might waver back and forth, but unless there is a global downturn or a major political revolution in Italy, its monetary policy will become less accommodative...”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - July 2017

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.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - July 2017

The MSCI Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index rose by 1.6% in US dollar (USD) terms. Year-to-date (YTD), the index returned 22.8%, outperforming MSCI World by over 12%.

Improving Japanese Shareholder Returns Ahead

Our top Japanese Equity staff, including our CIO, report on how Corporate Governance remains on a strong upward trend, which should boost alpha for active managers and beta for the overall market via improvements in ROE and shareholder distributions.

Japan Equity Outlook - June 2017

In the Japanese equities market, high dividend strategies have significantly outperformed other strategies. We believe that – in a low growth, low interest rate environment where investors yearn for yield – these strategies will continue to outperform.

The Global Investment Committee remains moderately optimistic about the global economy and equity markets, while being cautious on global bonds.

China A-Shares: A New Milestone

Following four years of intense consultation and three failed attempts, MSCI has just added China A-Shares into its international indices. We view this as expected and in some ways, long overdue.

ESG and Credit Investing — What does the future hold?

Changing perception of ESG’s performance impact: An active ESG approach is now regarded as a catalyst for outperformance.

June Gamble Doesn't Pay Off for May

Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost its outright majority in last Thursday’s general election. What are the implications for Brexit and the markets?

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - June 2017

MSCI Asia ex Japan (AxJ) gained 4.7% in USD terms, outperforming the MSCI AC World and MSCI Emerging Markets Indices.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - June 2017

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.