Insights

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

The Japan Update – Japan Inbound Consumption Continues to Grow

Inbound consumption by overseas visitors to Japan continues to grow. For the nine-month period from January to September 2015, such consumption totalled a cumulative ¥2.6 trillion (approx. US$21.7 billion), which already represents a higher amount than that for all of 2014.

What's to come? - China's RMB as a global reserve currency

The IMF's decision to include the Renminbi into the SDR is a major push for the RMB to become one of the world's major reserve currencies.

Australia: Lower GDP growth and CPI should mean lower 10-year bond yields

Our lead Australian fixed income portfolio manager discusses her intermediate-term outlook for the bond market “down under.”

Economic Disappointment in Japan Should not Worry Equity Investors

Once again, as has long been our view, disappointing macro-data should not worry investors in Japanese risk assets very much at all.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - November 2015

Prices of the US Treasuries (USTs) ended the month lower. Risk-on sentiment prevailed for the most part of October, favouring risk assets over perceived "safe-haven" instruments.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - November 2015

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index rose 8.0% in USD terms, broadly in line with MSCI AC World Index. All Asia ex Japan currencies except the Philippine Peso strengthened against the US dollar in October.

Asia ex-Japan Equities - Historic Price to Book Valuation buying opportunity emerges

Developed and emerging markets in Asia ex-Japan have clearly been under tremendous pressure in recent months, including redemptions of more than USD 50bn from the region in September, the heaviest ever witnessed.

Did ECB QE Jump-start Eurozone Earnings Like the US Experience?

We update our views on whether ECB QE has had a positive effect on corporate earnings.

Why the BOJ does not need to ease much, if at all

There are many reasons for the BOJ to defy consensus expectations for more easing.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - October 2015

US Treasuries (USTs) registered gains in September. Yields initially trade in a tight range, but subsequently jumped mid-month, in anticipation of the announcement from the US Federal Reserve (Fed).

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - October 2015

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index was down 1.8% in USD terms in September which masked the volatility where the markets oscillated within a wide range of 10%.

Abenomics 2.0: Focusing on Women’s Participation

There is an admirable effort to improve the female participation rate, but it is too early to judge whether the measures will have a major effect.

What Investment Themes Will Drive Credit Markets?

What Investment Themes Will Drive Credit Markets?

A better supply/demand balance in Europe, outperformance of “high yield“ globally, positive event-risk in the telecom sector and opportunities in local currencies, as well as other credit related investment themes, all present interesting opportunities for generating positive returns, even in a challenging environment.

Sifting Through The Ruble: Global Commodity Currencies

Our Nikko Asset Management fixed income experts, led by Simon Down, discuss the prospects for commodity currencies.

G-3 Economies Should Continue Relatively Firm

In our view, the G-3 economies will fare reasonably well, and basically match the current consensus in the next few quarters; however, there will be significant challenges for each region.

Our logic for the Fed hiking in October and thereafter

For the time being, we are not estimating a date for reducing the Fed’s balance sheet, but a 2Q16 initiation seems quite logical at this stage.

Forecasting a Stronger USD and Higher Bond Yields

Although we expected G-3 bond yields to rise, they did so less than we predicted in our June meeting. We expect yields to rise moderately further for the next two quarters.

Why Neutral Global Equities, with US Underweight, but Japan and Europe Overweight?

Our forecasted macro-backdrop scenario has mixed ramifications for global equities, with the US declining but most other regions rising, and it is likely to be very volatile ride

Valuation in a Post-QE World

Markets and economies are still being dictated to by unprecedented levels of monetary stimulus. We believe in building a portfolio of companies that are more likely to flourish in the growth environment beyond 2015.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - September 2015

US Treasury (UST) yield curve, along with other asset classes, experienced volatile swings in August. The Chinese central bank’s announcement that it would modify the approach to setting the CNY fixing midpoint effectively weakened the currency against the USD.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - September 2015

Asian equities fell 9.8%, underperforming the MSCI AC World Index by 3.2%, in USD terms. This marked the worst monthly performance for MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index since May 2012.

Looking at how Japanese companies fared with their April-June quarterly earnings, we can see that automobile manufacturers and major electronics producers posted large profit growth on the back of the weak yen and strong sales in the North American market.

Japan's "Show Me the Money" Corporate Governance - September 2015

We explain how Abenomics is the "icing on the cake" of corporate governance improvement over the last decade.

Zooming in on the Pacific Decade: China's Devaluation

A concentrated, stock-picking approach is the best way to serve a long-term investor's goal of capital appreciation

Fintech Evolution in China

The internet revolution is coming to the financial sector, addressing inefficiencies in current system and business models. In China’s case we are witnessing a combination of financial liberalisation with an internet revolution in the financial sector.

US rate rises unlikely to have significant impact on 10-year Treasuries

Even though the current term premium on US Treasuries seems too low, it is unlikely to rise significantly unless offshore bond yields start to rise.

Capitalising on the Pacific Decade: Taking the long-term view on China

For investors outside China, whether they have holdings in Chinese shares or not, coming to a coherent investment view on the country has become imperative as it exerts an ever-increasing influence on global markets.

Economic Disappointment in Japan? Key points to remember (again)

As has long been our view, disappointing economic data should not worry investors in Japanese risk assets very much at all.

Why did China devalue the renminbi?

While RMB weakness will likely persist for a few months, we don't expect the currency to devalue more than 10% versus USD and we maintain our confidence that the currency will be included into the IMF SDR basket in a year from now.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - August 2015

US Treasury (UST) yield curve bull flattened in July, as yields of short-dated USTs rose on Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairperson Janet Yellen’s statement that interest rates are likely to rise later this year while the yields of longer-dated USTs fell on the weakening inflation outlook.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - August 2015

Asian equities fell 6.3%, underperforming the MSCI AC World Index by 8.1% in USD terms. MSCI EM Asia Index was down 6.9% in USD terms, its worst monthly performance since May 2012.

Market Commentary – Asia Corporate High Yield Market Update

Spreads in Asian corporate high yields (HYs) have been impacted by recent market volatilities. Risk aversion ruled the market after the surprise change in RMB fixing rule which led to concerns on the weakening growth in China and its impact on the emerging markets (EM) countries.

After the China devaluation, Asia currencies and equities broke down – in effect, catching down to some degree to Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, which had already been significant underperformers.

Abe administration's 2015-version growth strategy: Focus on productivity

We will be watching to see how companies respond this year to the Corporate Governance Code, specifically the twin issues of selling cross-shareholdings and improving capital efficiency.

India: Our Debate on Key Issues

India is a key market to watch in the coming years. Our expert on India, Andrew Holland, CEO of Nikko AM's joint venture there, discusses with Simon Down of our UK fixed income team the forecast for reforms in the country, with some surprising conclusions.

Iron Ore: Supply has arrived but where is the demand?

What lies ahead for iron ore prices, particularly with the Chinese economy slowing and undergoing a transition away from a materials-intensive economy to a consumption-driven economy?

Greece: the Potential Victory from this Defeat

Like many countries that have previously refused to reform at all levels, sometimes it takes a true crisis to change.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - July 2015

Yields of US Treasuries (USTs) bear steepened in June, with developments in Europe dominating sentiment. The 10-year Treasury eventually ended the month at 2.35%, 23 basis points (bps) higher compared to end May levels.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - July 2015

The MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan fell -3.7 % in June in USD terms, lagging the MSCI AC World by 1.4%. Asia ex-Japan markets continued to give up year-to-date gains in June as the old adage of sell in May and go away continued to hold true.

Views on the China equity market selloff – from an Asian Fixed Income perspective

The sharp equity market correction in recent weeks after a very strong run over the past year will not have a crisis-level impact to the broader economy.

The Implications of the RMB Inclusion in the IMF SDR

The IMF has been supportive of China's attempt to be included, but has not indicated that it recommends it. Furthermore, there is a risk that most of these reforms are too new for the IMF to judge whether they are effective or sustainable.

China: Now and tomorrow

Nikko AM Asia views the recent corrections in Chinese equities, particularly in the onshore markets, as healthy given the sharp increases in value that had occurred due to a frenzied retail market intoxicated by relatively cheap margin financing.

Nikko AM Asia views the recent market corrections in Chinese equities, particularly in the onshore markets, as healthy given the sharp advance on account of a frenzied retail market intoxicated by the relatively cheap margin financing.

Market Commentary – China: Now and Tomorrow

Reforms have been a key element of the Chinese leadership and we foresee a continuation of policies aimed at eradicating state inefficiencies and corruption; liberalise and prepare capital markets for more competition; address labour mobility and encourage urbanisation, to name a few.

G-3 Economies Should Continue Rebounding

We believe the global economy should be quite firm for the next year, but not so strong as to cause inflation concerns.

Central Banks: Our Logic For Fed Hiking Three Times This Year

We have a non-consensus, but completely sound call for a more aggressive Fed, whereas we expect the ECB and BOJ to maintain their current aggressive easing program.

Forecasts for Stronger USD and Moderately Rising Global Yields

Despite good global economic growth, other commodity prices will likely remain quite flat in our view, partially due to a stronger USD.

Asset Class Forecasts: Maintain Overweight Global Equities

We calculate that equity valuations are at fair levels and that stocks can grow along with earnings.

Bond market sell-off may look like 2003, but it shouldn't be as bad for US Treasuries

Although the recent bond market sell-off may remind the market of 2003, we don’t believe US bonds will be as badly affected. By comparing the worst US bond sell-offs since 2003, we estimate that the 10-year US Treasury yield could hit a high of 2.8-3.2% by October.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - June 2015

Yields of US Treasuries (USTs) rallied in May, with the 2-year and 10-year yields up 4 and 9 basis points (bps) respectively as compared to end-April levels.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - June 2015

The MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan returned -2.6% in May, lagging the MSCI AC World by 2.9%, in USD terms.Asian equities underperformed other Emerging Markets (EMs), particularly Brazil and Russia, which rallied sharply.

Notwithstanding a brief rebound in yen strength in mid-June, the Japanese currency has continued its weakening trend against the U.S. dollar, with the yen recently dropping to its lowest level in over 12 years.

Japan’s nominal GDP, commonly used to gauge a country’s real standard of living, has remained mostly unchanged since the 1990s following the collapse of Japan’s asset price bubble and the onset of deflation.

Will US rate hikes weigh on risk assets?

Real yields and inflation expectations currently suggest exceptionally low growth and low inflation far out into the future.

Japan's “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance - June 2015

We expect that profit margins will expand further in coming quarters, driven by a large corporate tax cut and continued industry rationalizations that further prove that Japan's structural profitability trend continues upward.

Does the price action of bunds signal an end to ultra low rates?

We do not expect the recent steepening of the bund yield curve to be the beginning of a sustained new trend. Moreover, Eurozone and German economic data, albeit improving, are not sufficient to support the higher bund yields on a sustained basis.

Did Asia's Central Banks Engage in the Global Currency War?

Since the Fed starting hinting at the normalization of interest rates a year ago, Asian central banks' foreign reserve accumulations - except for India and Hong Kong - have either incurred substantial losses or remained flat.

Recent yield rises don’t necessarily signal the end of bond market rally

With many markets having rallied from major support levels when they were in highly oversold positions, we believe that bond markets should stabilise or rally from current levels.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - May 2015

Yields of the US Treasuries (USTs) traded in a relatively tight range, eventually ending higher at month-end. At 2.03%, the 10-year point on the UST curve was up 11 basis points (bps) compared to the level at end-March.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - May 2015

The MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan returned 7.2% in April after shrugging off initial weakness and outperformed the MSCI AC World by 2.3% in April in USD terms.

The Japanese stock market has continued to rise, punctuated by the Nikkei 225 recently closing above 20,000 points for the first time in 15 years.

Japanese Overseas Equity Exposure Rising

We expect that Japanese pension funds will continue to shift their investments into risky assets in 2015.

Low oil prices: Saudi Arabia can afford to bide its time

Oil-producing countries have seen the largest drop in their foreign exchange (FX) holdings over the last year. In our view, Saudi Arabia can afford to handle oil prices at their current level for some time but ...

China's LGFV debt swap – Shining light on the Shadows

The importance of President Xi Jinping's strong leadership cannot be stressed enough. Under him China is undergoing dramatic changes. While the most thorough cleansing of state corruption is ongoing, elements of China's grand strategy are becoming more evident both domestically and on the global stage.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - April 2015

Prices of the US Treasuries (USTs) ended March higher, with 2-year and 10-year USTs yields closing the month 6 basis points (bps) and 7bps lower respectively.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - April 2015

The MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan returned -0.3% in March after shrugging off initial weakness and outperformed the MSCI AC World by 1.3% in March in USD terms.

Market isn't overheating even after Nikkei touched 20,000

The market isn't overheating even though the Nikkei stock average touched the 20,000 level, nor do we believe that overseas markets are overheating right now.

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.

Recent Defaults by Chinese Issuers

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.

The New Governance Code – What impact will it have on Japanese companies?

Due to the developments described in this article, there is ample room for growth at Japanese firms and much opportunity for investment success.

Our View on the Crucial Chinese Property Market

Given the significant proportion of real estate investment as a percentage of GDP, as well as the proportion of local government revenue generated from land sales, the property market remains a crucial driver of the Chinese economy.

March Tankan Report Commentary

The March “tankan” survey results are not expected to lead to the BOJ's further acceleration of QE.

US Federal Reserve faces headwinds as it starts to raise rates

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.

G-3 Economies Should Rebound Nicely

In sum, there certainly are some worrisome issues, as always, but we find none of them convincing enough to prevent moderate increases in equity prices.

China's Outlook and now Positive on Emerging Markets

Much as we expected, China's economy has continued to slow faster than consensus, but does not appear to be in a hard landing.

Central Bank, Inflation, Currency, Commodity and Bond Forecasts

Central Banks: Despite firm economic growth, we believe that a negative YoY CPI through September will steady the Fed's hand.

Regional Equity and Asset Class Forecasts

Coupled with our expectation for global bond yields to rise moderately, we maintain our overweight view on global equities vs. bonds.

Japanese Equity: Improved Export Data May Indicate Turning Point for Japan

The recovery in profits by Japanese export firms should continue to attract the attention of the markets in the first half of 2015.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - March 2015

Prices of the US Treasuries (USTs) weakened in February, with yields of the 10-year USTs higher by about 35 basis points (bps).

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - March 2015

The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan gained 3.71% but underperformed the MSCI World which gained 6.43% in SGD terms. The MSCI World’s strong performance was attributable to the supportive external backdrop with improving economic indicators out of Europe.

Japan's Successful “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance

John Vail updates his long-standing theme: Japan's Successful “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance.

European Property: Does it Signal Global Deflation?

Through 2014, one of the largest asset classes in the world was virtually unnoticed as an indicator that Europe is not pushing the global economy into widespread deflation.

Will European QE deliver on Earnings expectations?

There are several credible reasons to expect that QE will boost corporate earnings in Europe, though by not as much as in the US. However the risk of disappointment relative to inflated expectations remains high.

Will deflation or inflation be the global focus for 2015?

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.

Economic Disappointment in Japan? Key points to remember (again)

The disappointing economic data should not worry investors in Japanese risk assets very much at all.

Australia: Japanese and European QE likely to subdue bond yields and increase currency market tensions in 2015

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.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - February 2015

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.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - February 2015

Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets outperformed its global peers, registering a return of 3.8% in SGD terms as compared to the MSCI World index which gained only 0.4% in SGD terms, primarily due to the stronger Greater China region and Indian markets which were the best performing markets in January.

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.

What will happen to US Treasuries if Japanese government bond yields go to zero?

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...

Preparing for the Next Phase of Global Evolution: More People and Bigger Cities

We expect the next phase of the global evolution to be driven by a growing global population, rapid urbanisation and for most of it to happen in emerging markets with increasing focus on "green" development.

Implications of the ECB's quantitative easing program for interest rates and currencies

ECB's QE: The major question is, will this program work given the European model of debt creation is via the banking system and not the bond markets?

Steel and Iron Ore Deflation to Continue

The steel industry and its underlying iron ore industry are witnessing excess production and deflationary forces that are similar to the global energy markets.

ECB Success but with Caveats

The QE announcement was a major step forward for Eurozone. It is not without dangers and questions about implementation, however, so markets should not get over-enthusiastic about it.

BOJ Indicates a Move Towards "True Core CPI" More Globally

Now that oil prices have declined, if a central bank targets its overall CPI at 2.0% for 2015, it would likely be labeled as being overly aggressive and perhaps attempting to unfairly weaken its currency.

Will China Provide Global Liquidity Soon?

As the Fed continues to unwind its stimulus, even amidst threats of global deflation, there are hopes that China will accelerate the liberalization of its capital account and take over the Fed's role as the global supplier of liquidity.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - January 2015

US Treasuries (UST) had a volatile trading month in December and ended the periodwith the 5- and 10-year UST yields 17 basis points (bps) and 0.7bps higher compared to November.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - January 2015

Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets did better than other emerging markets, posting a negative return of 2.1% in USD terms as compared to the latter which returned -4.6% in USD terms as it was dragged down by Russia.

Reasons for an Oil Price Rebound

We expect oil prices to rebound and for the time being, we will stick with our call for Brent to rebound to $72 by end-June 2015, although $65 is a more plausible goal.

Asian Credit Outlook 2015

Asia credit recovered strongly in 2014. Long duration bonds gained as the intermediates and long-end US Treasury (UST) yields fell in response to disappointing growth outcomes elsewhere in the world even as the shortend of the curve began adjusting to rate hike expectation in the US.