Asia-Pacific

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

Stop making sense: the state of volatility in markets

Volatility is back in a big way in 2018. A large increase in the VIX is showing an annual level not witnessed since 2007. The sell-off that started in October appears to have been triggered by a number of negative technical forces in the USA coming into effect at the same time, which impacted global markets.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - November 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 10.85% in USD terms, on the back of concerns about rising interest rates, slower economic growth, and persistent US-China trade tensions. Large technology stocks were particularly hard hit.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - November 2018

US Treasury (UST) yields spiked at the start of October as the market responded to stronger US data and Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Jerome Powell's hawkish comments.

Japan Equity Monthly - November 2018

The Japanese equity market dropped in October, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) falling 9.41% and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) declining 9.04% on-month.

Asia's Current Account: Good or Bad?

On the back of unrelenting USD strength, 2018 has been a tumultuous period for Asian currencies. Countries in the region with current account deficits have been facing more currency pressure, prompting their central banks to engage in series of rate hikes to defend their currencies.

From the Australian Equities Desk - October 18

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned -6.1% during the month.

From the Australian Fixed Income Desk - October 18

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was up 0.48% over the month, outperforming Australian equities which tumbled over 6%.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - October 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 1.38% in USD terms in September. The Sino-US trade conflict and rising oil prices were key drags on performance. During the month, the US Federal Reserve raised rates for the third time this year as widely anticipated, amid positive economic data.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - October 2018

In September, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps). The monetary authority removed the clause that policy rates are "accommodative", and modestly raised its growth forecasts for this year and next.

Japan Equity Monthly - October 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in September, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 5.55% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 6.17%.

From the Australian Equities Desk - September 18

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned -1.8% during the month.

From the Australian Fixed Income Desk - September 18

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was down 0.42% over the month.

From the Australian Equities desk - August 18

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index rose 1.4% during the month.

From the Australian Fixed Income Desks - August 18

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was up 0.81% over the month. The yield curve flattened as the spread between long-term and short-term bond yields narrowed.

A Numbers Game: The Changing Face of Demographics

In 2011 a dramatic shift occurred throughout the developed world — working age populations began a multi-decade decline. Demographic shifts like this in an economy can have profound effects, including changes in growth and debt metrics.

August 2018 Australian Reporting Season: The Good, The Bad, and The Oddly

Confession season was eerily quiet leading into reporting season, unlike the noise from the Royal Commission and the incredible events out of Canberra, where another Prime Minister didn’t reach their full term.

The Nikko AM Australia Approach to Value Investing

Nikko AM Australia values companies based on their sustainable earnings capacity. That is, we determine the intrinsic value by capitalising the sustainable or mid-cycle earnings of every stock under coverage.

Japan's 'Show Me The Money' Corporate Governance: Renewed Surge

After improving in the spring, the US trade imbalance is worsening again, especially vis a vis the Eurozone and China, with significant repercussions for international monetary and economic relations.

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

Value vs. Growth and the Divergence to the Extreme

All major value equity indices show that the last five years, and in particular the last 12 months, have been a challenge for value as a style.

Japan Equity Monthly - August 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in July, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 1.30% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 1.12%. Stocks started the month lower amid anxiety over intensifying trade tensions between the US and China.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - August 2018

In July, US Treasury (UST) yields rose. US-China trade tensions continued to persist. The risk of a trade war between the US and Europe tempered after the two countries announced they will cut trade barriers.

Australian Equity Monthly Outlook - August 2018

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index rose 1.4% during the month. The Australian equities market underperformed global equity markets in July led by a fall in resources. Developed markets outperformed emerging markets for the fourth consecutive month.

Australian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - August 2018

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was up 0.16% over the month. The yield curve flattened as the spread between long-term and short-term bond yields narrowed. 3-year government bond yields ended the month up 3 basis points (bps) while 10-year government bond yields also rose, up 2 bps to 2.65%.

Uncovering Value in Japanese Equities

Global equity markets rallied throughout 2017 without any major setbacks. With volatility at extreme lows, it could be said that 2017 was an unusually fortunate year for market participants in terms of risk and reward.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - July 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 4.8% in USD terms amid persistent concerns about trade tensions between China and the US.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - July 2018

In June, the US Treasury (UST) curve flattened. The US Federal Reserve (Fed)'s 25 basis points (bps) rate hike was accompanied by a more hawkish tone, supporting higher short-term rates.

Japan Equity Monthly - July 2018

The Japanese equity market was mixed in June, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) falling 0.76% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) climbing 0.65%.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - June 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index closed -1.3% in USD terms as markets turned more risk averse amidst macro uncertainties, trade tensions and higher oil prices.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - June 2018

In May, US Treasury (UST) yields ended lower. A solid US jobs report supported the bearish bias in UST yields that prevailed.

Japan Equity Monthly - June 2018

The Japanese equity market declined in May, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) dropping 1.67% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) falling 1.18%.

Where Are We With Corporate Governance In Japan?

Japan’s corporate governance reforms have progressed slowly but surely and the recent revision of the code will add momentum for the unwinding of cross-shareholdings.

Forbes: Japan's 'Show Me The Money' Corporate Governance Update

Japanese profit margins continued roughly flat in the 1Q, but at a high plateau due to improved corporate governance over the past years. With global economic growth pushing up the top line, profits should continue to rise significantly in the quarters ahead.

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

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - May 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index gained 0.7% in USD terms. Trade jitters receded following China’s commitment at the Bo’ao Forum to further open up the economy to foreign businesses.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - May 2018

US Treasuries (USTs) experienced a sharp sell-off in April as yields rose about 10 to 24 basis points (bps) across the curve. Trade war fears between US and China receded, with Chinese President Xi Jinping's commitment to further open up the economy to foreign businesses.

Japan Equity Monthly - May 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in April, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 3.55% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 4.73%.

China Brands Muscle MNCs Out of Home Turf

Chinese companies are now a force to be reckoned with on their home turf – a market which used to be dominated by foreign brands. This report looks at how the change has come about and where Chinese brands are headed.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - April 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index declined 1.5% in USD terms, amid significant volatility across global markets. Concerns about a global trade war and a sell-off in the US tech sector weighed heavily on sentiment.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - April 2018

US Treasuries (USTs) traded in relatively tight range in March, with the yield curve bull flattening. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interate rates by 25 basis points (bps), and signalled it could lift rates at a marginally more aggressive pace in coming years.

Japan Equity Monthly - April 2018

The Japanese equity market fell in March, with both the TOPIX (w/dividends) and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) dropping 2.04% on-month.

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.

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.

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: 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?

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.

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.

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%.

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%.

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.

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.

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.

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%.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Reforming India

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

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.

Japan Equity Outlook: “Work style reform”

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

Emerging Divergence as Unwinding of QE Gathers Pace

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Asia High Grade Credit - A Safe Haven within Emerging Market Debt

Asia Credit is significant enough as an asset class to be considered separately, and its high grade segment could be a relative safe haven if EMD flows reverse.

Forbes: Japan's “Show Me The Money” Corporate Governance

“Last night’s release of the first quarter data on aggregate Japanese corporate profits confirms my twelve-year theme about improving corporate governance there and how investors should not worry about the slow domestic economy.”

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

Japan Equity Outlook - May 2017

We believe inflation will pick up gradually in the second half of 2017, in which case the rational expectations of Japanese consumers are likely to shift towards anticipation of even higher inflation.

On 19 May 2017, S&P upgraded Indonesia’ sovereign rating to BBB- with a stable outlook from BB+ with a positive outlook.

How would a Korean crisis impact Japan?

While highly unlikely, we examine the potential impact on Japan of a major crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

Forbes: What Was Japan's Bubble Like In 1989?

“Japan's example should always provide a guide to investors to be wary of arguments that surges in risk assets to high valuations based upon huge monetary and fiscal policy stimuli, coupled with excessive confidence, even if long-lasting, are acceptable.”

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

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - May 2017

MSCI Asia ex Japan (AxJ) was up another 2.2% in USD terms, outperforming the MSCI AC World. All AxJ markets ended higher in April.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - May 2017

10-year US Treasury (UST) yields ended the month at 2.28%, about 11 basis points (bps) lower compared to end-March levels. Mixed economic data and rising geopolitical tensions drove sentiment over the month.

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