The Multi-Asset Perspective: September 2019
In this edition of the Multi-Asset Perspective, our Senior Fund Manager Kelly Chung said amid weakening investment sentiment and economic data, valuation of China / Hong Kong equities has reached a historical low level. It is believed that there will be more stimulus coming out after the Politburo meeting in October.
China / Hong Kong Equities
Investor sentiment in Hong Kong faces a double whammy of social unrest and trade war escalation. Economic data in both Hong Kong and Chinese mainland continue the weakening trend. However, investor positioning has already been very low, implying that investors have already priced in most of the bad news. Also, China is starting the second round of stimulus of this year as evidenced by the most recent reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut. We believe there will be more stimulus coming out after the Politburo meeting in October. Valuation has also reached a historical low level.
Due to the optimism over further stimulus to offset the impacts of the escalating trade war and the weakening economic growth, A-shares have outperformed offshore Chinese equities quite significantly. However, valuation is not attractive due to the rising A-H premium and the spiked-up short-term volatility in the equity market.
Asia ex-Japan Equities
Valuation has been emerging after the recent correction, especially when compared to the Asia ex-Japan corporate bond yield. With the help from stabilizing global risk aversion, USD has reached the peak and should gradually weaken from the current level. A weakening USD will lend support to Asia ex-Japan equities. However, the sluggish economic growth still hinders corporate earnings recovery.
Emerging Market ex-Asia Equities
Emerging markets ex-Asia have plenty of room to cut interest rates given the manageable inflation.
Valuation in Japan is the most attractive within Asia. We see stabilizing earnings revision after a decline in the last few months. However, the escalation of trade war between the U.S. and China and the tension between Japan and Korea have dampened investor sentiment. The consumption tax hike on October 1 is a risk to the already slowing growth.
Asia Investment Grade Bonds
Asia investment grade bonds are benefiting from the significant fall in U.S. Treasury yields. However, rising China credit default swap (CDS) and the weaker corporate sentiment may cause the already very tight spread to start widen. Also, Treasury yields have already reached a historical low level and are easy to reverse if recession expectation eases.
Asia High Yield Bonds
Asia high yield bonds have been relatively resilient amid the recent correction in the equity market. However, with the weakening RMB and rising CDS in Asian countries, there could be more pressure on the Asia high yield bond space.
Emerging Market Debt
Spreads in emerging market bonds have remained relatively tighten although the volatility of EM currencies and bonds are rising.
Gold is a good hedge amid political uncertainties. Also, with global central banks on an easing mode, investors would put money into gold rather than negative yielding bonds. However, with risk aversion improving, there could be a pause after the very strong recent rally.
Multi-asset offers lower volatility compared to a single traditional asset or a balanced portfolio. However, risky assets such as equities, credits, and commodities have become more correlated with each other amid the current market environment. Additional asset classes are therefore needed for better diversification. In an uncertain environment with lower yields, income becomes an important source of returns for investors.
The views expressed are the views of Value Partners Hong Kong Limited only and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. The information provided does not constitute investment advice and it should not be relied on as such. All materials have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable as of the date of presentation, but their accuracy is not guaranteed. This material contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Investors should note that investment involves risk. The price of units may go down as well as up and past performance is not indicative of future results. Investors should read the explanatory memorandum for details and risk factors in particular those associated with investment in emerging markets. Investors should seek advice from a financial adviser before making any investment. In the event that you choose not to do so, you should consider whether the investment selected is suitable for you.
This commentary has not been reviewed by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. Issuer: Value Partners Hong Kong Limited.