Investment Insights

 
In China, we await confirmation of real, positive fundamental change before increasing our confidence towards the country, and we maintain a highly selective approach. Elsewhere, a combination of AI-induced excitement and positive structural reforms has driven Asian markets higher, particularly in Taiwan, South Korea and India.
We favour South Korean, Indian and Philippine government bonds and have adopted a neutral stance on Indonesian bonds. Meanwhile, the fundamentals backdrop for Asian credit remains supportive.

New Zealand Equity Monthly (June 2024)

A look back at the past six months reveals the extent to which New Zealand’s equity market has missed out on the strength seen in many other global markets. Amid these struggles, however, the New Zealand market’s sensitivity to interest rates also offers a note of hope.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly (June 2024)

Given the current weakness in New Zealand’s economy, the key question regarding interest rates is not so much the direction they will take but when they are likely to be cut. The struggles seen in the economy span from GDP to employment and look set to persist for some time.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights From Tokyo (July 2024)

This month we focus on the surge in long-term JGB yields and whether it poses a threat to equities; we also discuss the potential upside for Japan’s small- and mid-cap stocks.

From beauty products to bicycles: the promising landscape of Asian small caps

Asian small caps, ranging from “indie” cosmetics brands to bicycle manufacturers, present a chance to get involved with the future economic powerhouses of the world. The strategic positioning, high growth potential, adaptability, and innovation of Asian small caps make them a compelling choice.

Global Investment Committee’s outlook: still growing but proceed with caution

Our central scenario is for positive GDP growth in most major economies, with mild upside risks to growth in all regions but Europe. Within this central scenario, we anticipate range-bound inflation with a gradual disinflationary trend in the US and Europe. We expect reflation to continue in Japan and also to pick up in China.

Time to revisit Chinese bonds from a global portfolio perspective

Recently, China has been frequently appearing in global headlines, although many of these stories are not particularly encouraging. Amidst a fixation with the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy, global markets may be missing the obvious, quieter China trade.
Markets have continued their strong growth through 2024, as odds continue to grow that central banks are able to walk the tight rope and avoid any real slowdown of global growth. US inflation has remained above expectations. However, some marginal softness is now appearing to flow through consumer spending and employment.
The early economic cycle dynamics and cheap valuations in Asia contrast starkly with the expensive late cycle dynamics in the West, and we expect this to provide good diversification options for global investors.
We have shifted to a mildly positive stance on overall duration, preferring high-yield markets such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines. We expect Asia credit to remain well-supported due to subdued net new supply as issuers continue to access cheaper onshore funding.

BOJ takes a slow, steady approach to reducing bond purchases

The Bank of Japan maintained interest rates at its June meeting, disappointing market participants who expected a reduction in monthly bond purchases. The BOJ signalled a future reduction in bond purchases but only at the next policy meeting in July, without providing further guidance on possible rate hikes or balance sheet reductions.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly (May 2024)

New Zealand's fixed income market has struggled so far in 2024 and inflation has remained high. However, there is growing confidence that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will lower the Official Cash Rate in the next six to 18 months due to a slowing economy, with the expectation that inflation will retreat to the central bank's target range by the end of 2024.

New Zealand Equity Monthly (May 2024)

New Zealand’s equity market is currently facing challenging times. However, a sense that the country’s interest rates may have peaked are some of the indications that the market’s outlook may brighten.

India’s election and implications for equities

In the 2024 Indian parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP won fewer seats than expected. However, with support from pre-alliance partners, Prime Minister Modi will lead a coalition government for a third term, indicating a public desire for policy continuity and reform. While economic fundamentals are strong, the election results also reflect rural distress and the need for job creation, suggesting the government may focus on expanding the manufacturing sector, infrastructure development and digitalisation.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights From Tokyo (June 2024)

This month we look beyond Japan’s impressive dividends and share buybacks from the perspective of corporate governance reform; we also explain how the “quantity effect” associated with exports may reduce the relevance of currency levels.
As the market comes to grips with the US rate structure potentially remaining high, we expect to see increased market volatility and a potential return of the positive correlation between bond and equities that was evident in the market through 2022.

The yen: how weak is too weak?

The ongoing weakness in the yen has led to intense debate over whether Japan can cope with further challenges to its global purchasing power. Although it is a matter of concern, a weak currency isn't necessarily undermining Japan's economic recovery. That said, a prolonged downtrend for the yen warrants vigilance as it could destabilise the economic recovery by triggering inflation.
In terms of duration exposure, we maintain a positive outlook for medium-term duration, finding the current yield levels attractive. We expect Asia credit to remain well-supported due to subdued net new supply as issuers continue to access cheaper onshore funding.
What a difference a month can make. Discussions have pivoted from interest rate cuts in the US to the possibility of an increase, while Chinese equities have rallied sharply on a combination of attractive value and hopes of effective policy implementation.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly (April 2024)

Despite the decline in one- and two-year inflation expectations, we feel that the longer term picture is likely to be dominated by broader secular forces, or prolonged trends not necessarily tied to cyclical factors, that structurally drive inflation.

Could ESG reporting rules spark an EU-US trade war?

The US presidential election in November continues to cast a long shadow, and as the race between the 45th (Donald Trump) and 46th (incumbent Joe Biden) presidents quickens, divisions have only widened. The investment world is no exception, and one particularly troubling battleground is the growing regulatory divide regarding ESG reporting.

New Zealand Equity Monthly (April 2024)

New Zealand is seeing its first set of climate-related disclosures. Under this regime which began in January 2023, large organisations release "climate statements" about the potential impact of their operations on the climate and vice versa, according to standards set by the country’s External Reporting Board.

Navigating Japan Equities: Monthly Insights From Tokyo (May 2024)

This month we analyse why the influence of capex and wages on spending behaviour are key to gauging whether an inflationary mindset is taking hold among households; amid an adjustment by Japanese stocks from record highs, we also look for growth narratives to sustain a long term uptrend.

Investing in Japan: an insider's perspective with Naomi Fink

Naomi Fink recently joined Nikko Asset Management as a Global Strategist based in Tokyo. We sat down with Naomi to discuss her personal relationship with Japan, and to hear her views on arguably the most talked-about investment region in the world at present.

Multi Asset Strategies to Capture Growth with Lower Volatility

Disruptive Innovation

The changing shape of China's economy