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Harbour Outlook: Markets face a wall of worry

  • The MSCI All Country World (global shares) Index fell 4.3% (in USD) in September, though was down a more modest 1.4% over the quarter.
  • The news that one of China’s largest property developers, Evergrande, was facing imminent default caused jitters within the market, with many worried about potential contagion. Evergrande’s troubles came to the forefront following tighter restrictions on property developers’ balance sheets.
  • Broader Chinese economic momentum has continued to stall with Beijing prioritising structural reforms over growth.
  • Bond yields rose over the month, the New Zealand 10-year bond yield increased by 0.27% to 2.09%, while the US 10-year bond yield climbed 0.18% to 1.49%. This contributed to declines for major New Zealand and global bond indices.
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Harbour Team | Posted on Oct 8, 2021
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Is there a COVID-19 endemic equilibrium for investors?

  • At some stage the world may learn to live with COVID-19 and, while that may be hard to believe in the middle of a local lockdown, this pandemic may eventually morph into an endemic.
  • From an investment perspective, we need to accept that this is likely and it will allow markets to continue to swing attention to other risks like climate change, inflation, interest rates, disruption, regulation, innovation and corporate earnings.
  • That path may not be straightforward but two data points are encouraging. First the US and European rate of new COVID-19 infections looks to have peaked and, secondly, by the end of this year close to 80% of the world’s adult population are expected to be fully vaccinated.
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Andrew Bascand, Hamish Pepper | Posted on Sep 23, 2021
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Implications of an Evergrande default

  • Some form of default looks inevitable for debt-laden Chinese property developer Evergrande  
  • We examine why markets don’t hold concerns that a default will put sand in the global financial cogs
  • However, concerns are spreading to other developers which could increase volatility
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Simon Pannett | Posted on Sep 17, 2021
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Sustainability themes from reporting season

  • Climate change disclosure is increasingly prevalent
  • Diversity and inclusion considerations are growing wider in scope
  • The focus on human rights is rising with inaugural modern slavery statements
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Jorge Waayman | Posted on Sep 14, 2021
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Harbour Outlook: Delta fails to dampen equity markets

  • The MSCI All Country World (global shares) Index rose 2.4% (in USD) in August, buoyed by positive earnings momentum and a more dovish than expected US Federal Reserve.
  • The New Zealand earnings season was strong with beats outnumbering misses 2 to 1. This helped drive a strong 5% return for the S&P/NZX 50 index over the month.
  • Chinese economic momentum looks to have stalled in recent months. Both Caixin and broader PMIs missed consensus estimates during the month, with the non-manufacturing side of the economy particularly weak.
  • The outbreak of COVID-19 in the community scuppered the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) plans of a rate rise in August. The tone of the RBNZ remains hawkish which saw bond yields rise across all maturities during August. This caused market returns to be negative with the Bloomberg NZ Bond Composite 0+Yr Index returning -1.0% over the month.
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Harbour Team | Posted on Sep 8, 2021
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The Fed can taper without tantrum

  • As the US economy continues to improve, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) seems close to reducing its pace of bond purchases as part of its quantitative easing (QE) programme.
  • Different to the “taper tantrum” of 2013, however, a reduction in purchases is widely expected and is not being associated with imminent interest rate hikes.
  • US Treasury bond returns tend to be mixed prior to interest rate hikes but US equity markets generally fare much better.
  • That’s not to say it will necessarily be smooth sailing for financial markets. Risks exist in many directions, but a well broadcast tapering may not be the largest concern.
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Hamish Pepper | Posted on Sep 1, 2021
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Keeping the lights on

  • Decarbonisation and keeping the lights on will need significant investment
  • Investment needs a stable policy environment
  • Policy risk may have lessened with reviews targeted at better information sharing
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Craig Stent | Posted on Aug 24, 2021
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Real Estate Investment Trusts - Quality over quantity?

  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have delivered an attractive return relative to their lower volatility over the longer term
  • The quality of New Zealand property returns has improved over the last 10 years with a higher weighting to industrial assets
  • New Zealand REIT dividend distributions are now more sustainable, with most dividends now based on conservative available funds from operations definition rather than accounting definitions
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Shane Solly
Shane Solly | Posted on Aug 24, 2021
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The RBNZ “read the room” with a hawkish hold

  • The RBNZ left the OCR unchanged yesterday given heightened health-related uncertainty.
  • But with the central bank’s inflation and employment objectives met, the Monetary Policy Committee has a strong desire to reduce stimulus once this uncertainty passes.
  • We agree that interest rates eventually need to be a lot higher, but health outcomes will determine when the tightening cycle begins. In fixed income portfolios we are positioned for the OCR to remain on hold while the COVID-19 delta variant outbreak unfolds, but for longer term yields to rise and inflation pressures to persist.
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Hamish Pepper | Posted on Aug 19, 2021
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The Delta Blues

  • We hope you are all keeping safe & well as we find ourselves back in level 4. We have done this before, and we can do it again!
  • As well as the challenges of a snap lockdown, today has been one of the busiest days of the year for both companies reporting and the macro-economic calendar.
  • Today the New Zealand equity market bucked the trend from markets overnight with equity prices recovering after strong local company results and AGM updates positively impacting some of our largest companies.
  • Fixed income and currency markets, however, were more affected by the COVID-19 outbreak news, with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) displaying considerable risk awareness in deciding not to proceed with a rate hike today that it was widely expected to make.
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Harbour Team | Posted on Aug 18, 2021