Asia-Pacific

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

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.

Japan in Motion: What does the future hold?

We believe that Abenomics is working, however we feel that its success cannot be determined by viewing government policy frameworks in isolation.

Forbes: Why The Yen Should Not Strengthen In A Crisis

“Any major crisis in the Northeast Asian region, especially one involving a crisis within Japan’s borders, is likely to be handled very aggressively by the Bank of Japan (BOJ), with it bending the rule-book as much as the Fed did during the Global Financial Crisis or as the ECB has done in the past five years.”

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

Japan’s Inflation and Monetary Policy Outlook

Our Tokyo Fixed Income team explains its view on the Japanese labor market and its effect on consumer inflation and Bank of Japan policy.

Value Investing now back in favour — Will this continue?

During the 2016 December quarter, we witnessed the value style stage a partial recovery after having underperformed for at least two years or so. Is this as good as it gets? Or will value continue to outperform after its initial recovery, after having being in the wilderness for some time?

China started 2017 with real momentum, following the property driven debt-fuelled stimulus of last year, and the blue skies a result of Government directives to curb pollution during March’s Central Government meetings. However, with an expectation of lower steel intensity sectors driving growth this year, what will this mean for Australia’s resource sector?

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - April 2017

MSCI Asia ex Japan (AxJ) was up 3.3% in USD terms, outperforming MSCI AC World. All Asian markets rose over the month, with gains led by India and Korea.

Five Charts to Watch

As commodity prices have risen, the Australian economy is set to benefit from these continuing gains.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - April 2017

US Treasury (UST) yields rose in the first half of the month buoyed by hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve (Fed), a solid US jobs report and possible scale back of quantitative easing (QE) by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Move over OPEC, there is a new commodity cartel in town... China

China has had a significant impact on the supply side in two key global commodities during 2016. Going forward, look out for further actions from China on the supply side of commodities.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - March 2017

MSCI Asia ex Japan (AxJ) was up 3.4% in USD terms, marginally outperforming MSCI AC World. Absolute returns were positive for all AxJ markets except the Philippines.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - March 2017

US Treasury (UST) yields traded in a tight range in February. Risk assets rallied and UST yields rose in the first half of the month, on the back of the prospect of tax cuts and a Dodd-Frank overhaul in the US.

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance: 4Q update

Given the release of the fourth quarter data, we update our decade-long theme about improving corporate governance in Japan.

Asia Credit - A New Major Global Asset Class

Asia’s Credit market has come a long way since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998, having evolved into a large, deep and liquid market.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - February 2017

Asia ex-Japan (AxJ) equities returned 6.2% in US Dollar (USD) terms, outperforming MSCI World. Singapore, Hong Kong and Chinese equities outperformed while Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand lagged.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - February 2017

US Treasury (UST) yields ended higher in January as weaker-than-expected payroll data led markets to moderate their forecasts for Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hikes in 2017.

Why ESG for Emerging Asia

Given the challenges, why bother?

Asian Credit Outlook 2017

In-depth report: Economic growth in Asia is expected to remain broadly stable in 2017. While there will be greater external uncertainties as well as country-specific challenges, Asian economies are, on balance, better equipped to deal with external pressures compared to a few years back.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - January 2017

Asia ex-Japan (AxJ) equities returned -2.0% in US Dollar (USD) terms, underperforming MSCI World and MSCI Emerging Markets (EM). Currencies across AxJ generally weakened against the dollar following the Federal Reserve's (Fed’s) decision to hike rates.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - January 2017

USTs weakened further in December, as caution prevailed following the November sell-off. As widely expected, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps).

Global trade the key for Japan

As we start 2017, we expect the continued recovery in Japan’s economy will be driven by three factors outlined in this article.

Trump as Teddy Roosevelt

Trump certainly is non-conventional, in many ways similar to Teddy Roosevelt. Hopefully, Japan can adapt to this new reality, and instead of blocking Trump's initiatives, be able to have acceptable compromise “deals” ready.

House View: Bullish on Global Equities and the USD in 2017

Nikko AM's Global Investment Committee's 2017 Outlook — More Economic and Equity Reflation, Despite Less Dovish Central Banks

Japan Equity Market Outlook 2017

We believe that in an increasingly uncertain world, Japan’s less uncertain market will provide a compelling opportunity for serious investors.

Asia ex-Japan Equity Market Outlook 2017

The phrase “lower for longer” could well become unfashionable very quickly after years of central banks combating the forces of deflation and wishing for inflation instead.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - December 2016

Asia ex-Japan equities returned -2.9% in US Dollar (USD) terms, underperforming MSCI World.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - December 2016

UST yields surged in the month as Trump's election victory prompted expectations of a significant fiscal package and possible upside inflation risk under the new administration.

Asia’s Coming Healthcare Boom

A combination of key regional factors—including demographics, urbanization and existing infrastructure gaps—all point to sustainable growth for healthcare in Asia ex Japan.

Five Charts to Keep an Eye On – Making sense of this unique investment environment

Following the US election, we have seen bond rates continuing to increase, a stronger US dollar, firmer commodity prices, and a US stock market at all-time highs. Is optimism around the US President-elect’s fiscal expansion masking the true deflationary picture?

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance: 3Q update

Given the release of the third quarter data, we update our decade-long theme about improving corporate governance in Japan.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - November 2016

Asia ex-Japan equities returned -1.5% in US Dollar (USD) terms, outperforming the MSCI World which declined by 1.9%.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - November 2016

USTs ended lower in October. Better US economic data and a hawkish statement from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) bolstered expectations of a December interest rate hike.

Populism and Strongman Rule - Is Duterte a role model for ASEAN?

Our Senior Portfolio Manager for ASEAN equities reviews the trend towards Strongman rule in ASEAN.

Earnings recovery is much more achievable in EM Asia than LatAm or EMEA

Our Multi-Asset portfolio manager based in Singapore reviews the prospects for profit margin expansion in the three main Emerging Market regions.

ASEAN Equity Outlook - October 2016

"Find growth and you will find performance" was our Asian Equity investment mantra in early 2016 as the world grappled with slowing growth and lethargy with monetary experimentaton in low and depressed interest rates.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - October 2016

Asia ex-Japan equities rose in September, returning 1.6% in US Dollar (USD) terms and outperforming both the MSCI World and MSCI Emerging Markets indices.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - October 2016

USTs ended September mixed. While the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and the Bank of Japan reinforced commitment to monetary easing, the ECB's lack of new stimulus disappointed the market.

Interpreting Signals in Unprecedented Times - Japan Equity Market Outlook

No turning back — 2% inflation target not only intact but enhanced with a new “inflation overshooting commitment”

Will Japan Exit the UK?

Our UK expert on BREXIT and our chief global strategist respond to Japan’s concern about its investments in the UK.

More Radical Central Bank Policies and Implications for Stock Picking

Given how important central bank policies are for the pricing of assets, our focus has to be on what they do next. If debt monetisation were to occur, it would have significant implications for equity investing.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - September 2016

Asia ex-Japan equities extended its upward momentum in August, returning 3.4% in US Dollar (USD) terms and outperforming MSCI World by 3.3%.

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