Our previous Neutral Asset Allocation (NAA) review took place in the immediate aftermath of the US Presidential election result. With so much coverage, the media and markets would be forgiven for experiencing election fatigue.
However elections continued to be the major preoccupation in the first half of 2017, with the focus primarily on Europe.
The victory in the Netherlands for centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte put a pause on the populist movement sweeping through 2016. Populism was ultimately stopped in its tracks by Macron’s march to the French Presidency. Theresa May’s attempt at increasing her Party’s majority ahead of Brexit negotiations instead resulted in the Conservative Party forming an unlikely coalition with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party to prop up her minority government. But wait, there’s more.
The coming months will see elections in Germany and possibly Italy, again. Outside of Europe, there is a leadership transition in China towards the end of the year.
On the economic front, as Trump moved from President-elect to POTUS in 2017, the prospect of massive fiscal stimulus (tax cuts and increased spending) and a move away from globalisation challenged the current low inflation, low interest rate equilibrium, giving the Fed a “Licence To lift”.
In our most recent review, conducted in May 2017, we witnessed a continued, but more muted, reduction in overall risk from traditional assets, driven by lower expected returns. This review saw us marginally increase our optimism for the long term economic climate, with reflation being the main theme. This has been offset however, by the increase in valuations that we’ve seen in the months since President Trump’s victory.
This material has been prepared and issued by First Sentier Investors (Australia) IM Ltd (ABN 89 114 194 311, AFSL 289017) (Author). The Author forms part of First Sentier Investors, a global asset management business. First Sentier Investors is ultimately owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc (MUFG), a global financial group. A copy of the Financial Services Guide for the Author is available from First Sentier Investors on its website.
This material contains general information only. It is not intended to provide you with financial product advice and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making an investment decision you should consider, with a financial advisor, whether this information is appropriate in light of your investment needs, objectives and financial situation. Any opinions expressed in this material are the opinions of the Author only and are subject to change without notice. Such opinions are not a recommendation to hold, purchase or sell a particular financial product and may not include all of the information needed to make an investment decision in relation to such a financial product.
CFSIL is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Bank). First Sentier Investors was acquired by MUFG on 2 August 2019 and is now financially and legally independent from the Bank. The Author, MUFG, the Bank and their respective affiliates do not guarantee the performance of the Fund(s) or the repayment of capital by the Fund(s). Investments in the Fund(s) are not deposits or other liabilities of MUFG, the Bank nor their respective affiliates and investment-type products are subject to investment risk including loss of income and capital invested.
To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted by MUFG, the Author, the Bank nor their affiliates for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this material. This material contains, or is based upon, information that the Author believes to be accurate and reliable, however neither the Author, MUFG, the Bank nor their respective affiliates offer any warranty that it contains no factual errors. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Author.
In Australia, ‘Colonial’, ‘CFS’ and ‘Colonial First State’ are trade marks of Colonial Holding Company Limited and ‘Colonial First State Investments’ is a trade mark of the Bank and all of these trade marks are used by First Sentier Investors under licence.