Harbour Outlook: Economic Crosscurrents
- The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) continued its decline, posting a -2.7% loss in New Zealand dollar-hedged terms (and a 0.2% gain in unhedged NZD terms). Despite three consecutive months of negative returns, the 12-month return figure for the index stands at 9.5% in NZD-hedged terms and 10.4% in unhedged terms.
- Returns for the month were similarly weak in local markets, with the S&P/NZX 50 Gross Index (with imputation credits) falling -4.8%, and the S&P/ASX 200 Index falling -3.8% (-2.4% in New Zealand dollar terms).
- Bond indices were also negative over the month. The Bloomberg NZ Bond Composite 0+ Yr Index fell -0.2%, whilst the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Bond Index (hedged to NZD) also dropped -0.7% over the month. This came as the US market saw 10-year government yields increase to 4.9%, a level not seen since 2007, with resilience in US economic data prompting the market to largely unwind an expectation that the Federal Reserve would be cutting rates in 2024.
Harbour Outlook: Higher for longer, but how much longer?
The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) declined for the second month in a row, posting a -5.0% return in unhedged New Zealand dollar terms (-3.4% in hedged terms after strengthening in the New Zealand dollar). Returns were similarly weak in local markets, with the S&P/NZX 50 Gross Index (with imputation credits) falling -1.9%, and the S&P/ASX 200 Index falling -2.8% (-4.1% in New Zealand dollar terms).
Globally, weakness was...
Harbour Outlook: Past the winter solstice, but is it spring yet?
After a string of strong returns for equity markets August saw a retreat. The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) returned -2.1% in New Zealand dollar-hedged terms, however weakness in the New Zealand dollar over the month helped the index move 1.6% in New Zealand dollar terms. Closer to home the S&P/NZX 50 Gross index (with imputation credits) fell 4.2%, whilst the S&P/ASX 200 Index fell a more modest -0.7% in AUD...
Harbour Navigator: Is a2 Milk the canary in the coal mine pointing to a Chinese structural slowdown?
Our recent visit to China has changed our view of the structural impediments facing our largest trading partner.
Demographic changes are impacting consumers’ medium-to-long-term outlook of the economy and they are adjusting their spending as a result.
The a2 Milk Company gave us a flavour last month of the impact from deteriorating demographics on the youngest age cohort.
After a multi-year COVID hiatus, we finally...
Harbour Navigator: New Zealand’s weakening export outlook to provide multiple challenges
Slowing global demand, led by a stalling Chinese economy, has seen New Zealand’s commodity export prices fall sharply in recent months.
Weaker export revenues will likely weigh on economic activity, supporting our view that further Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) rate hikes are not necessary and causing a further deterioration in the fiscal accounts that may require additional bond issuance.
Export weakness is also likely...
Harbour Outlook: Inflection points for interest rates and earnings?
It was another strong month for equities, with the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) returning 2.0% in New Zealand dollar terms, and 3.2% in New Zealand dollar-hedged terms. Closer to home the S&P/NZX 50 Gross index (with imputation credits) advanced 1.2%, whilst the S&P/ASX 200 Index added 2.9% in AUD terms (and 2.4% in NZD terms).
Globally, returns were strong across all sectors, with energy leading the way at ...
Harbour Outlook: Is a soft landing really possible?
It was a strong month for global markets. The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) returned 3.5% in New Zealand dollar terms, and 5.4% in New Zealand dollar-hedged terms. Returns were strong across all sectors, with consumer discretionary standing out at 9.9%. There was a general shift towards cyclical sectors with industrials and materials rounding out the top 3.
Australasian markets also rallied, with the S&P/NZX ...
Investment Horizon: Top 10 risks and opportunities for 2023 – A mid-year reflection
At the risk of jinxing things and, barring a few weeks in March where the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank looked like it could create broader risks for the banking system, the first half of 2023 was relatively uneventful. Particularly when compared to the corresponding periods
in 2020 and 2022.
After a year of negative returns for both bonds and equities, “the scores on the board” look healthier for both. Equities have bou...
Harbour Outlook: AI: the fourth industrial revolution?
The conflict between observed inflation and soft lead indicators for economic activity continues to influence interest rates and economic forecasts. While some central banks may pause from raising rates, the overall balance of risks tilts towards tighter financial conditions. Investments with robust fundamentals and manageable debt levels are preferred in this environment.
It was a weak month for Australasian marke...
Harbour Navigator: Is inflation sticky?
After an aggressive RBNZ tightening cycle, the New Zealand economy is likely to enter recession later this year.
Inflation, however, is unlikely to quickly return to the RBNZ’s 1-3% target range and involves three broad steps – supply chain normalisation, lower housing costs and a drop in wage growth. Only the first step is complete.
We expect the RBNZ to increasingly recognise the impact of its rapid rate hikes to highly...