Asia ex Japan equities declined by 1.3% in USD terms in May, largely on the back of currency weakness. Markets started the month under pressure, but later recovered on better-than-expected US economic data and recovering oil prices.
The UK's late June vote in favour of 'Brexit' was initially read as a deep negative, particularly given that markets were priced strongly in favour of a 'Remain' vote. However, after brief reflection, markets outside the region saw a rally, with risk asset performance more than making up for Brexit losses.
US Treasury yields remained largely unchanged in May. The impact of a disappointing US payroll figure was offset by the release of the US Federal Reserve’s April meeting minutes, which revealed that most policymakers favoured a rate hike in June should the US economy continue to improve.
Two of our senior portfolio managers in London update their earlier piece on BREXIT with numerous points of great interest on this crucial topic.
Continued easy monetary policy in Europe and Japan will be supportive for global interest rates, but the case for further limited rate hikes in the US remains in place for 2016.
Our oil experts in London and New York update their bullish views in January with new facts, while retaining their positive intermediate-term view on oil prices.
We have previously written about our concern that monetary policy is reaching the limits of its effectiveness, particularly when considering zero and negative interest rate policies (ZIRP & NIRP) and quantitative easing (QE).
Our Chief Strategist in Japan explains why Japan’s government debt situation is sustainable.
Our global rates and currencies strategist in Australia lays out his dovish Fed scenario as an alternative to our house view. In it, he expects the Fed to wait until September or later to raise rates, and states his case that the Fed’s actions do not affect US bond yields.
We believe it is time to reassess market attitudes towards liquidity. We may have to start moving towards a model where investment horizons and liquidity expectations are more appropriately matched to the asset classes being invested in.