Asia-Pacific

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - December 2020

The US Treasury (UST) yield curve steepened slightly in December. The UST 10-year bond yield rose 7.5 basis points (bps) to 0.915%, while the 2-year bond yield fell by 2.7 bps to 0.122%. Concerns in the month revolved around rising COVID-19 cases in Europe, particularly in the UK, and over the uncertainty of fiscal stimulus in the US.

Japan Equity Monthly - December 2020

We look into the potential economic impact of Japan’s attempt to become carbon neutral. We also analyse why Japan’s fiscal condition draws little attention although the country is on course to spend a record amount in its upcoming budget.

2021 New Zealand Fixed Income Outlook

We can head into 2021 with New Zealand the envy of many. But it remains to be seen how long this euphoria will last. Agriculture and horticulture are both promising, and the technology sector has been touted as the next big thing, but without a new major driver of growth, there’s no guarantee that our economic reality will match our ambition. Leveraging New Zealand’s exposure to fast growing economies such as China remains an important economic recovery strategy. But our greatest hope for emerging successfully from this period of wider “confidence slump” is that the low and plentiful cash stimulates risk taking and stimulates the economy, propelling New Zealand into its next phase of prosperity.

2021 Japan Equity Outlook

We believe 2021 will be remembered as a year that marked the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 crisis as the world develops vaccines to counter the pandemic. In Japan, we expect a gradual recovery of its economy in 2021, as the pandemic’s impact lessens, and economic activity normalises.

2021 Singapore Equity Outlook

Following the negative performance of 2020, we believe 2021 could see better returns and a recovery for Singapore equities. We believe equity returns will remain supported by the re-opening of the Singapore economy and expect an improved market performance in 2021. With the backdrop of fewer global trade conflicts, accelerating exports, accommodative policy, higher return on equity and low foreign ownership, we expect the outlook for 2021 earnings to improve and that should support better market returns.

2021 Asian Fixed Income and FX Outlook

We expect North Asia to continue to lead the region’s recovery (at least in the first half of the year). But we also expect the growth divergence between North Asia and the rest of the region to narrow. Unprecedented fiscal support from governments have been pivotal to the ongoing recovery. We expect fiscal action to continue in the coming year but anticipate renewed private sector confidence as the vaccine becomes broadly available and provides a powerful tailwind to regional growth.

2021 Asian Equity Outlook

Asian countries have, by and large, handled the COVID-19 pandemic better than their western counterparts and are now emerging from that nadir. Most of these countries have plenty of fiscal and/or monetary stimulus headroom. And this superior growth and better national finances are available at a significant discount to developed markets. A languid US dollar will enhance local currency returns in these “risk assets”.

2021 Asia Credit Outlook

We expect Asian credit spreads will tighten gradually over the coming months, supported by a solid rebound in gross domestic product (GDP) growth for most Asian economies in 2021 and stable to slightly better corporate credit fundamentals.

Beyond the pandemic: Identifying sources of alpha in Japan

The global markets surged in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. While we expect the liquidity-driven rise to continue for a while, we should be prepared for the tide to eventually turn. We identify Japanese industries, notably “Delta ESG” stocks, that could become sources of alpha in the post-pandemic world.

Asian equity monthly – November 2020

Asian stocks turned in strong gains in November, boosted by positive COVID-19 vaccine developments, rising hopes for better US-Asia ties under the leadership of US President-elect Joe Biden and stronger-than-expected economic data from several Asian countries. The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index rose 8.0% in US dollar (USD) terms over the month.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - November 2020

The US Treasury (UST) yield curve flattened in November. Risk markets rallied after the US presidential election. Investor confidence was lifted following positive trial results of a COVID-19 vaccine. Yields subsequently retracted part of their earlier rise on news of soaring COVID-19 infection rates in the US and Europe and near-term downside risks to the economy.

Australian Fixed Income Monthly – November 2020

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned -0.11% over the month. The yield curve steepened as 3-year government bond yields ended the month 1 basis point (bp) lower at 0.11%, while 10-year government bond yields rose by 7 bps to 0.90%.

Australian equity monthly - November 2020

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned 10.2% during the month. Australian equities enjoyed a strong month (in fact, the best monthly return since 1992) on positive COVID-19 vaccine news, additional quantitative easing measures locally and increased certainty regarding the US presidential election result.

Japan Equity Monthly - November 2020

The Japanese equity market has posted impressive gains as 2020 draws to a close, with the Nikkei Stock Average reaching a near three-decade high, and we assess the rise from a long-term perspective. We also analyse how Japanese equities have managed to defy a stronger yen.

Efficiency of Japanese corporate investment in human capital and shareholder value

Japan struggles with an aging and shrinking population and it is important for the country, both from an economic and social perspective, to improve its relatively low labour productivity by efficiently utilising its human resources.

Japan IP beats the US in October

For October, on a seasonally adjusted YoY basis, Japan’s October YoY Industrial Production (IP) result was better than both US Manufacturing IP and US Total IP. It likely surpassed Europe’s too.

Significant value waiting to be unlocked in Japan

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered changes in Japan that would have taken many years to initiate in less turbulent times. We believe there is significant value to be unlocked under such circumstances.

Asian equity monthly – October 2020

US presidential election jitters and an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the US and Europe triggered a downturn in global equities in October. Asian stocks, however, managed to turn in decent gains for the month, owing to a slowing pace of COVID-19 infections in the region and growing optimism over China’s economic recovery. The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index rose 2.8% in US dollar (USD) terms over the month.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - October 2020

US Treasury (UST) yields rose in October. The US presidential election and the fiscal stimulus deal were the focal points of news headlines and markets in October. Worries about the acceleration of COVID-19 cases in the US and Western Europe, and renewed lockdowns in the latter, partially offset the upward pressure. Overall, 2-year yields ended 2.6 basis points (bps) higher at 0.155%, while 10-year yields rose 19.0 bps to 0.875%.

What the Biden win could mean for Japanese equities

We assess the US election outcome from the perspective of the Japanese equity market, focusing on the economic and policy changes that are expected to accompany the change in US leadership.

Japan Equity Monthly - October 2020

We discuss the reasons behind the Japanese equity market’s recent outperformance and the factors likely required for the gains to be sustainable in the longer term. We also assess the recent surge by the Mothers Index and key points to watch going forward.

Australian Fixed Income Monthly – October 2020

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned 0.28% over the month. The yield curve steepened as 3-year government bond yields ended the month 4 basis points (bps) lower at 0.12%, while 10-year government bond yields rose by 4 bps to 0.83%. Short-term bank bill rates were all lower.

Australian equity monthly - October 2020

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned 1.9% during the month. Australian equities were supported by the release of the Federal Budget early in the month which saw increased spending and tax cuts to aid the economy as it recovers.

US presidential election – Nikko AM’s views

In order to gain a range of perspectives on the US presidential election, Nikko Asset Management has gathered the views of the following experts and investment teams, representing many of our major asset classes and geographical regions.

Adapting to the “new normal”: Japan’s paradox

With the global outbreak of COVID-19 in the first half of 2020, the world was turned upside down. Under such circumstances, Japanese companies are now faced with new challenges to adapt to this “new normal”.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - September 2020

US Treasury (UST) yields traded in a narrow range during the month. Factors such as the second wave of COVID-19 infections in Europe, lingering volatility in US equities and continued lack of consensus on further fiscal support weighed on market sentiment.

Asian equity monthly – September 2020

After three consecutive months of strong gains, Asian stocks finally succumbed to profit taking in September triggered by concerns that the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could be running out of steam.

Australian Fixed Income Monthly – September 2020

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned 1.08% over the month.

Australian equity monthly - September 2020

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned -3.7% during the month. Australian equities lagged most developed markets during the month, as most markets took a breather in September.

Japan Equity Monthly - September 2020

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s new prime minister, is widely expected to retain his predecessor’s fiscal and monetary policies known as “Abenomics”.

Global Investment Committee Outlook: A new regime ahead

Clearly, it remains difficult to predict events in this volatile environment, but in the interest of our clients, we do our best and fortunately this time, we had virtually unanimous agreement on a similar scenario as in June, both politically and economically.

ASEAN equities: Uncovering opportunities in uncertain times

The price bifurcation of ASEAN equities this year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is creating ample stock-picking opportunities for long-term investors. Read on to find out which markets and sectors in the ASEAN region that we have the highest conviction in.

Asian equity monthly – August 2020

Asian stocks posted gains for the third consecutive month, boosted by positive COVID-19 vaccine developments around the world, the persistently weak US dollar (USD) and resilient Chinese economic data.

Suga - Likely the most pro-Third Arrow reform PM in Japan’s history

Despite major improvements over the last two decades, some critics will always doubt the progress of economic reform in Japan.

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