August: positives outweigh concerns


Performance update, August 2021

In summary…
 

Once again, we can happily write about markets going up, which has produced positive outcomes for investors.  Long may this continue, but as we know, an expectation that this will continue forever is totally unrealistic.  But we will continue to enjoy this run for as long as it continues.In this month’s report, we talk about:
•    Our usual summary of markets;
•    The Reserve Bank’s plans were ‘Delta-blow’;
•    The fastest market recovery since World War 2.


What happened in markets during August?


The month of August is often associated with elevated share market volatility as we approach the seasonally weak months of September and October.  This year saw no respite with a variety of factors giving investors legitimate reason to pause.  Positive sentiment however ultimately outweighed concerns, with investors more than happy to use any market pullback as buying opportunities.  
Share markets around the world posted strong gains, with many hitting all-time record highs.  The MSCI World Index returned 2.7%.  The US market gained 3.0%, while European stocks gained 2.0%.
Chinese shares recovered in August after coming under heavy selling pressure in July as investors became increasingly nervous over the regulatory crackdown on technology companies.
The New Zealand share market was a shining light, returning 5.0%, spurred on by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) who reluctantly kept rates on hold.
In fixed interest, the yield on the benchmark US 10-year Treasury increased by 0.06% in August and rose from a mid-month low of 1.17% to close the period at 1.30%.  The yield on the NZ Government Bond Index climbed 0.25% for the month, ending at 1.52%.
Emerging markets did not perform as well as their developed counterparts.  While Chinese stocks did recover, on the back of strong company earnings, the regulatory crackdown is hitting investors’ confidence.  The situation in Afghanistan is unfolding rapidly and has the potential to rattle the confidence of investors.  Market concerns around this event focus mainly on unsettled investor confidence spilling into other markets around the world and how global leaders will react.
As we saw this month with the RBNZ, Covid-19 remains the talking point for central banks.  New cases in Europe, the UK and Canada have picked-up, but importantly hospitalisations and deaths remain low highlighting the success of the vaccine rollout.  Israel appears to be an exception with a highly vaccinated population but increasing numbers of vaccinated people falling seriously ill.  As a result, Israel is ramping up booster shots.  While New Zealand’s daily vaccination rate has picked up recently, we remain at relatively low vaccination levels compared to most other countries.  This will likely slow the reopening of our borders.


Theme 1 – The Reserve Bank’s plans were ‘Delta-blow’…


Economic data including a high inflation reading of 3.3% and the strong domestic labour market all but put to rest any lingering doubts that the RBNZ would lift the Official Cash Rate (OCR) in August.  The question became not if, but by how much. Labour market data showed the unemployment rate falling to 4%, significantly below economists’ expectations of a smaller drop from 4.7% to 4.4%.  There was also broad-based growth in employment and wages, with the latter increasing from 1.6% to 2.1% according to Statistics NZ.
However, two days before the RBNZ was due to announce its OCR decision, the emergence of the Covid-19 Delta variant in the community and consequent introduction of Level-4 restrictions introduced another factor for the Bank to juggle.  Given the heightened uncertainty around the lockdown, the RBNZ decided to leave the OCR unchanged at 0.25%.
The Bank made it very clear however that it would have increased the OCR at this meeting were it not for these last-minute developments.  The Bank’s next meeting is early October, where it will get another opportunity to pull the handbrake on the economy.

Theme 2 – Fastest market recovery since WW2…


August saw the seventh consecutive monthly gain in the S&P 500 Index, the broad US market index, and also marked the doubling of the Index off its Covid-19 lows.  The market bottomed on March 23rd 2020, so from here the S&P 500 Index took only 354 trading days to rally 100%.  According to CNBC analysis, this makes it the fastest bull-market doubling off a low since World War II.  History tells us that on average it takes a bull market more than 1,000 trading days to achieve this milestone.

chart

What does this tell us?  It shows us that the impact of Covid-19 on investment markets is quite possibly like any other market event in our recent history.  Whilst the pandemic, and its associated restrictions, hit markets severely in February and March 2020, the markets were not structurally or fundamentally in a fragile state.  The unprecedented level of stimulus steadied the economic ship, enabling it to navigate this challenging period.  So, when the world’s economies started to recover, the vaccines were created and subsequently rolled out, the economic growth that followed has inspired the rise in markets.  The challenge now becomes how does the market react to the reduction of this stimulus and the eventual rise in interest rates.


Our outlook…


Equities remain vulnerable to a short-term correction for several reasons:
1.    We are approaching the seasonally weak months of September and October;
2.    Delta infection rates continue to rise around the world;
3.    Supply constraints increase, which typically means costs will rise; and
4.    Central banks could soon start reducing the stimulus they are providing economies.

But looking through the short-term noise, even with reduced economic stimulus and eventual interest rate hikes, rates will remain low for the medium term.  This, alongside strong company profits and a successful vaccine rollout leading to more sustained re-openings, should ultimately prove supportive over the next 12-months for shares.
Bond yields are expected to continue their rising trend, as the market becomes more confident that the recovery in the global economy remains on track.  Hence our outlook for fixed interest investments is a lot less positive.

Previous investment market updates
 

July 2021

In summary…

Markets continued their strong run through the month of July. Equity markets in developed countries generally ended the month of July in positive territory, with many hitting new record highs. Equities rallied despite concerns about a possible economic slowdown, higher inflation readings and rampant Covid-19 variants. While equity markets ended the month higher, it wasn’t always plain sailing…

In our report this month, we cover two key themes:
- Covid-19 cases increase, but hospitalisation and death rates don’t; and
- Inflation rates go up, but Central Banks don’t immediately react.

What happened in markets during July?

Markets traded lower at times during the month, but investors seemed more than happy to ‘buy the dip’ when the opportunity presented itself. This supported the market when pockets of negativity emerged.
But there has been plenty of good news for investors to latch onto providing solid support for the market rally, including dovish guidance by central banks, economies reopening, and the vaccination rollout success and efficacy rates. These factors combined with a strong start to the US corporate earnings season, which has seen 88% of companies beat market expectations. Markets like it when companies beat expectations, so this ensured investor sentiment remained positive.

Global equities ended the month up 1.8%. This was led by the US which ended the month 2.4% higher – its sixth consecutive monthly gain. US equities have now gained 18% year-to-date. European equities also ended up 1.2%, slightly less than their US counterparts. Emerging markets lost ground (-6.7%) as shares in China came under heavy selling pressure as its Government continues to extend its crackdown on technology companies.

Once again, the New Zealand market was the laggard – down 0.5% – due to a rise in interest rates caused by the Reserve Bank’s message that it was discontinuing its bond buying programme a year earlier than scheduled.

Theme 1 – Covid-19 cases…

Covid-19 continues to be a dominate theme influencing markets. The highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for more than 80% of new cases in the US. Closer to home, we are seeing the impact through the lockdowns required in Australia and the battle for containment underway in Fiji.
Globally, 57% of people in developed countries have received one vaccination dose, and 45% have received two doses. Many countries continue to remove restrictions as their vaccination rate increases. England is the perfect example with “Freedom Day” lifting nearly all remaining limitations on public life. This comes at a time when infection rates are ticking up as the new Delta variant takes hold.
While the high vaccination rate may not keep a lid on the case numbers, the data (so far), is showing it is keeping the more serious hospitalisation level and death rates down. Unfortunately, some countries with lower vaccination rates are still struggling – with the likes of South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and Russia currently experiencing increased case numbers leading to a significant pickup in deaths.
New Zealand sits somewhere in the middle, with a low vaccination rate. Given the slow domestic vaccination rollout, our borders are likely to remain closed longer than other developed countries.

Theme 2 – Inflation is up…

Higher inflation readings around the world gave investors reason for concern, but any lingering doubts were put to rest by dovish rhetoric from the central banks of key economic markets.
Economic data out over the month was mixed, but mainly on the strong side. The European Central Bank (ECB) left monetary policy unchanged but introduced more flexibility around its inflation target. The ECB has moved away from a target of “close to, but below 2%”, to one that allows a deviation, above or below, the 2% target.
The US Federal Reserve remained firm in its view that the higher inflation reading of 5.4% is transitory. The data provides weight to this assessment – just five pandemic affected items covering 12% of core inflation, drove 75% of the increase. The 45% increase in used car prices accounted for more than a third of the rise in core inflation, which contributed to the rise in overall inflation.
With US & European central banks remaining cautious, interest rate increases outside of New Zealand do not look likely anytime soon, and this saw the US 10-year Treasury yield fall to 1.24% from 1.44%.
In New Zealand inflation rose at its highest rate in the second quarter in almost a decade, with the annual rate of 3.3% sitting above the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) target inflation band of 1-3%.
The domestic labour market remains tight with job ads breaking record levels. The strong economic data saw the RBNZ make an unexpected move by stopping its bond buying programme a year earlier than scheduled. This hawkish message was poorly received by the market with short-term interest rates pushing higher and the S&P/NZX 50 Index finishing the month -0.5% in the red. Given the tight labour conditions and surge in inflation, many market commentators are now forecasting the RBNZ to hike the Official Cash Rate in August.

Our outlook…

There is a risk that equities are entering a period of weakness as Delta variant infection rates soar and the seasonally weak months of September and October approach.
However, risk assets (equities/shares) are still well supported with low interest rates, the re-opening of economies, dovish central banks and strong company profits. While bond yields have pulled back recently, this appears against a rising trend so may prove to be temporary.

June 2021

June: another good month for the markets

In summary…
June was another good month for markets. Why? Two main reasons:

1. The ongoing successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world; and
2. The increase in inflation, we talked about last month, is believed to be temporary and so there was a focus on more positive data.
However, the question facing everyone in the markets now is whether this will continue, or will the recovery that we have experienced over the past 12-months start running into some headwinds? In our view, this is a time when we need to focus on longer-term fundamentals and try and block out ‘short-term noise’.

June results…

Global sharemarkets rose 2.3% in June. The US (+2.2%), Australia (+2.7%) and New Zealand (+2.3%) sharemarkets were among the best performing. The Japanese and Chinese markets fell -0.2% and -0.7% respectively. Emerging markets underperformed developed markets returning +0.6% over the month. Although June witnessed the outperformance of global property relative to the broader equity market, infrastructure and utilities continued to underperform.
New Zealand (finally!) enjoyed a good month, albeit this comes after a period of underperformance. Nevertheless, it was a healthy result given domestic interest rates increased over the month, except for very longer-dated bonds which enjoyed a fall in yield.
On a year-to-date basis, signalling halfway through the calendar year, global sharemarkets are 14.2% higher and the US and Eurozone have outperformed the rest of the world. New Zealand is one of the few global sharemarkets to have fallen in value since 31 December 2020, down -3.3%. Global sharemarkets have returned 36.9% over the last twelve months.

The detail…

Global equities continued to climb higher in June despite another bigger-than-expected US inflation number and a signal from the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) they may commence raising interest rates in 2023. Global markets brushed aside these concerns as the month progressed as inflation fears faded, there was an increased focus on expectations that central bank policy will remain accommodative for some time, a continuation of positive economic data, and the ongoing successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world.
Despite falling 1.3% after the Fed’s announcement in mid-June, US equities again reached historical highs in June. The Fed spooked markets by indicating they may raise interest rates twice in 2023. They are also moving toward scaling back the rate at which they are purchasing securities (tapering), which is increasingly likely to start early next year.
However, soothing words following the Fed’s announcement, particularly from the Chairman, that the current spike in inflation is temporary and full employment is some time away, eased market concerns and they focused on more positive data.
The positive data includes elevated business conditions in the US, Australia, and across Europe, positive manufacturing surveys, and improving labour markets. In addition, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues successfully. So far, 23% of people globally have had at least one dose of vaccine (this compares to 11.0% last month). Canada is now at 70%, the UK at 68%, the US at 55%, Europe at 48% and Australia is at 27%. The success of the vaccines continues to be evident in low new cases, hospitalisations and deaths in countries with high levels of vaccination.

Our favourite chart showing vaccination rates illustrates this.
(Source: BlackRock Investment Institute. Our World In Data. Jul 14, 2021. Note: The chart above shows the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people within a given population. It compares the number of people who have received at least one dose with the number full vaccinated -- usually two doses are required. Values do not include participants in the vaccine arm of clinical trials.)

In relation to inflation, US core inflation puffed up 3.8% for the year – its highest level since 1992. The key drivers of the spike in inflation are the base effects as the deflationary numbers drop out from last year, higher commodity prices, and COVID-19 impacts and disruptions as the US economy opens. Just five groups with a weight of about 14% in the core CPI accounted for more than 0.4 percentage points of the 0.7% monthly increase in core inflation. This included vehicle rentals up 12%, used cars up another 7%, and airfares also up another 7%.
The increase in prices is not broad-based and is increasingly seen as transitory (temporary), with the upward pressure on some price increases fading over time. The median CPI which provides a better guide to underlying inflation rose just 0.26% in May or 2.1% year-on-year and indicates the rise in inflation is not broad based. As noted earlier, sometimes we need to block out short-term noise and focus on fundamentals when investing.

What’s ahead?

We remain fundamentally positive for the outlook through the rest of the year. There is no shortage of challenges though – particularly with some parts of the world grappling with the Delta variant of COVID-19. As we see with Sydney, it does not take much to fall back into significant disruption.
So, we continue to watch the vaccine roll-out, the economic recovery from last year, inflation, plus the Delta variant. In our view these are short-term issues, but if any become more prevalent and impact the long-term picture, the positive sentiment will become challenged.

As always, have a plan, stick to it, and get advice!

May 2021

In summary…

To use a common sporting analogy, May was a month of two halves for global markets.

In the first part of the month, there was some uncertainty and market volatility due to:
• Higher than expected inflation statistics in the US; which in turn lead to
• Uncertainty on when the US Federal Reserve would change their policy settings; and
• Sharp falls in cryptocurrencies – particularly Bitcoin – which are not in our funds but the market seemed to take an interest in.

However, in the second half of the month, inflation fears faded as investors took guidance from central banks who continue to view inflationary pressures as temporary. Given this, markets were able to refocus on positive economic data, economies reopening and the continued roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine – all positive factors.

So all in all global sharemarkets rose 1.0% in May, led higher by the European markets (+1.6%). Emerging markets finished May 1.2% higher lead by the Chinese and Indian markets, returning 4.9% and 5.8% respectively over the month. Australia (+2.3%) was also a strong performing market.

The New Zealand sharemarket continues to lag the rest of the world, as it has for much of 2021, falling 3.2%. There were two key contributors to this – another profit downgrade by A2 Milk soured sentiment, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare missed market profit forecasts. But rising interest rates also weighed on the local market.

Theme of the month – Inflation…

The Millennials and the Gen Y generation will ask “what’s inflation?”. Some Gen X’ers will remember the word from their early years, but the Baby Boomers will remember inflation well.

Are we about to see inflation become a thing again? Some say yes, and others say it is a blip working through the system as the world economies restart after Covid-related impacts.

But rattling global markets during the month of May was a stronger than expected US inflation number. Core US inflation rose 0.9% in April versus expectations of 0.4%.

Annual inflation rose to 3.0% compared to 2.3% anticipated. Market’s don’t typically respond well to surprises…

Although higher inflation was expected due to rising commodity prices and supply chain bottlenecks, Covid related impacts are evident in these rising inflation figures. Covid sensitive sectors, such as hotel rates and airline tickets are rebounding as the US economy continues to open up. In addition, disruptions from Covid-19 have resulted in price increases. This was evident in April with used car prices increasing 10% due to a shortage of new cars.

Global central banks are expected to look through some of the pick-up in inflation, particularly those attributed to Covid-19 related impacts. However, the risk of higher inflation is growing, and financial markets are likely to be ultra-sensitive to any new data pointing to higher than anticipated levels in inflation.

Rising inflationary pressures and better-than-expected economic activity have placed the spotlight on central banks as to when they will adjust their policy settings of ultra-low interest rates and reducing the massive stimulus packages. Several central banks have started to indicate the period of very low interest rates is coming to an end – the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) included.

Although the RBNZ left policy settings unchanged in May as expected, they did provide guidance that the Official Cash Rate (OCR) would start moving higher in the third quarter of 2022. These forecasts reflect an improved outlook for the New Zealand economy by the RBNZ. A growing economy is a factor that could push inflation higher, which ultimately will mean higher interest rates as the RBNZ tries to keep inflation in check.

Final thoughts?

Markets have continued to be positive for investors and savers. Since the start of the year global sharemarkets are 11.6% higher, and in the past 12-months, they are 36.9% higher.

Companies around the world are reporting better-than-expected earnings, which is a good thing. The economies continue to open up due to a successful Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, so the outlook remains positive. For example, European business confidence is at its highest level since 2018.

So far, around 11% of the global population have received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Within developed countries the UK is leading the charge at 58%, the US is at 51% and Europe at 36%. New Zealand and Australia (8%) are well behind. The success of the vaccines continues to be evident in Israel, the UK and the US which have seen a collapse in new cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

Fortunately, the cases of coronavirus have fallen globally, primarily reflecting an improved situation in India.

April 2021

Global sharemarkets performed strongly in April, continuing the positive sentiment that has existed for most of 2021 so far. The three key themes for the continued strong performance are:

1. The continued roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine across the world;
2. Better than expected results from US companies as many announced their annual results over April;
3. An improved economic outlook – supported by a view that interest rates are expected to remain low for some time, and also the new government spending initiatives announced by President Biden in the United States.

In April, Global sharemarkets rose 4.0% across the board. This was led by the United States market which returned 5.3% for the month. Australia (+4.3%) and the UK (+3.8%) also performed well, while Europe (+2.5%) delivered a solid result. The New Zealand sharemarket lagged the rest of the world, as it has for much of 2021, returning 1.4% over the month. Likewise, emerging markets continued to trail developed markets, returning 0.04% for New Zealand investors.

April 2021 is a year on from when markets suffered when the Covid-19 virus negatively impacted investment returns. As we look back a year on from the near market lows this time last year, global sharemarkets have returned 41.1% (currency hedged) over the last year. Again, the US market has been one of the better performing markets, generating returns of 45.7% over the last twelve months. Remember, this is relative to a low starting point, but it does show the positive market recovery from the lows in 2020.

Theme 1 – Covid-19 vaccine…
So far, around 8% of the global population has received one dose of the vaccine. Within developed countries the UK is leading the charge at 51%, the US is at 44% and Europe is at 23%. New Zealand and Australia (8%) are well behind. Unfortunately, the number of cases of coronavirus has risen globally, which predominately reflects the devastating developments in India over the last two weeks of April.

Although economic activity contracted in Europe during the first part of this year, the economies of Europe are expected to return to positive growth over the months ahead as the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine continues. Europe is technically in a recession again, because economic growth also contracted over the last three months of 2020.

Theme 2 – Better US results…
US shares were propelled higher in April primarily by better-than-expected company earnings. Of the 60% of S&P 500 companies that have reported their earnings, 87% have been above expectations by an average of 23%. US economic data also remains very strong. Over the March quarter the US economy expanded at an impressive 6.4% annualised rate. The rate of growth in US economic activity is expected to peak later this year before slowing to a more sustainable level.

Theme 3 – An improved economic outlook…
April also witnessed further US Government spending plans. In the latest announcement, President Biden confirmed his American Families Plan, involving $1.8 trillion in spending on childcare, education, and paid leave. This will be partly funded by tax hikes, including an increase in the top income tax rate and an increase in capital gains tax rate for very high-income earners. This package, along with the $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan (which largely targets infrastructure spending), will be spread out over the next decade. The $1.9 trillion spending package announced in February 2021 seeks to support US economic activity this year.

In somewhat negative news though, recent US inflation data is slightly stronger than expected. Core inflation has jumped to 1.65% from 1.28% a month earlier, in part reflecting weak inflation data a year ago. Although inflation is likely to increase over the medium-term, excess capacity in the global economy means the risks of an outbreak of inflation is low. Accordingly, central banks in almost all developed countries have reiterated they are a long way from increasing interest rates, including New Zealand and Australia.

Against this background, fixed income markets around the world, including New Zealand, managed to deliver a positive outcome in April, partially recovering some of the losses from earlier in the year. New Zealand and US 10-year government bond yields were trading near 1.65% at the end of the month. Commodities also performed well, rising 8.1%, with oil delivering a 9.8% return. The New Zealand dollar finished the month at 71.62 cents versus the US dollar, up from around 70.00 cents at the beginning of the month. Global Infrastructure and global property hedged to New Zealand dollars returned 3.8% and 5.7% respectively in April.

The outlook from here…
The outlook for markets remains fairly positive as the vaccine roll out gathers pace and interest rates remain low. In addition, excess savings in the US, an increase in spending by US companies, solid economic growth in China and an increase in government spending around the world, bodes well for the global economy and sharemarkets over the medium-term. Several risks remain, however, including disruptions to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, rising coronavirus cases and a stronger than anticipated pick-up in inflation.

March 2021

Global share markets increased by 4.2% in March 2021, compared to an increase of 2.7% in February 2021. The outlook for markets remains fairly positive over the medium-term as vaccine distributions are underway and global Covid-19 infections have begun to drop. There are still risks, however, as this positive outlook is anchored on timely vaccine delivery in 2021. Already there have been some hold-ups and export restrictions in Europe.

European markets increased by 6.2% for the month of March. The UK share market increased by 4.2% and the US market increased by 4.4%. Meanwhile, emerging share markets rose by 2.2% in the month.
The New Zealand share market lagged a bit but managed a 2.9% increase this month compared to last month’s decrease of -6.9%. The New Zealand 10-year government bond yields remained above 1.7% for most of March and closed off the month at 1.8%. The New Zealand government also required the Reserve Bank to consider house price inflation when setting its monetary policy.

Government bonds, both in New Zealand and internationally, remain a popular central bank tool to support economic stimulus. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand continued to keep interest rates relatively low. We expect the easy monetary policy set by New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and overseas central banks to continue for the foreseeable future. Central banks have indicated that in almost all developed economies, we are a long way from interest rate hike discussions.

We can expect the market ups and downs to continue for some time. It’s helpful to remember that KiwiSaver is an investment, and market movements are a normal part of investing. It’s important to keep your financial goals in mind when you’re thinking about investments, including your KiwiSaver account. That’s why making sure you’re in a suitable fund is important, and if you are, hang in there, as for most members KiwiSaver is a long-term investment.
One of the benefits of being with a full-service provider like AMP is that we have a team of experienced advisers who can help you make sense of what’s going on. We can also talk to you about getting a plan in place to help you get on track with your KiwiSaver – we’re here to help.

You can view returns for the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme here. You can view returns for the NZ Retirement Trust here.

February 2021

Global share markets had better returns in February

Global share markets increased by 2.7% in February 2021, compared to a 0.8% decrease in January 2021. The outlook for markets remains fairly positive over the medium-term as vaccine distributions are underway and global Covid-19 infections have begun to drop.

European markets increased by 3% for the month of February. The UK share market increased by 0.3% and the US market increased by 2.8%. Meanwhile, emerging share markets rose by 0.8% in the month.

The New Zealand share market on the other hand, fell by -6.9% with larger stocks being the hardest hit. This was impacted by the New Zealand 10-year government bond yields rising above 1.5% for the first time since early 2020, and closed off the month at 1.9%, the highest they have been since early 2019.

Government bonds, both in New Zealand and internationally, remain a popular central bank tool to support economic stimulus. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand continued to keep interest rates relatively low. We expect the easy monetary policy set by New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and overseas central banks to continue for the foreseeable future. Central banks have indicated that in almost all developed economies, we are a long way from interest rate hike discussions.

We can expect the market ups and downs to continue for some time. It’s helpful to remember that KiwiSaver is an investment, and market movements are a normal part of investing.

It’s important to keep your financial goals in mind when you’re thinking about investments, including your KiwiSaver account. That’s why making sure you’re in a suitable fund is important, and if you are, hang in there, as for most members KiwiSaver is a long-term investment.

One of the benefits of being with a full-service provider like AMP is that we have a team of experienced advisers who can help you make sense of what’s going on. We can also talk to you about getting a plan in place to help you get on track with your KiwiSaver – we’re here to help.

You can view February's returns for AMP KiwiSaver Scheme here.

You can view February's returns for the NZ Retirement Trust here.

January 2021

Global share markets dropped in January

Although global share markets decreased by -0.8% in January 2021, the outlook for markets remains fairly positive over the medium-term as vaccine distributions are underway.

European markets decreased by -2.0% for the month of January. This was due to concerns about the Covid-19 viral variants being detected, and a stricter wave of lockdowns occurring in Europe. The UK share market decreased by -0.8% and the US market decreased by -1.0%.

Meanwhile, emerging share markets once again produced strong monthly returns and rose by 3% in the month. The New Zealand and Australian share market rose by 3.0% reflecting an overall positive New Zealand investor sentiment.

With the start of 2021, numerous economies are seeing many of their financial support programs end. There is still an array of risks in the medium-term as expectations are anchored on vaccine delivery in 2021.

Government bonds, both in New Zealand and internationally, remain a popular central bank tool to support economic stimulus. The New Zealand 10-year government bond yields rose above 1% for the first time since March 2020, lifting to 1.12% in January. This trend has accelerated in the first week of February.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand continued to keep interest rates relatively low. We expect the extremely easy monetary policy set by New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and overseas central banks to continue for the foreseeable future. Central banks have indicated that in almost all developed economies, we are a long way from interest rate hike discussions.

We can expect the market ups and downs to continue for some time. It’s helpful to remember that KiwiSaver is an investment, and market movements are a normal part of investing.

It’s important to keep your financial goals in mind when you’re thinking about investments, including your KiwiSaver account. That’s why making sure you’re in a suitable fund is important, and if you are, hang in there, as for most members KiwiSaver is a long-term investment.

One of the benefits of being with a full-service provider like AMP is that we have a team of experienced advisers who can help you make sense of what’s going on. We can also talk to you about getting a plan in place to help you get on track with your KiwiSaver – we’re here to help.

You can view January's returns for AMP KiwiSaver Scheme here.

You can view January's returns for the NZ Retirement Trust here.

December 2020

GLOBAL SHARE MARKETS WERE STRONG AGAIN IN DECEMBER

With the roll-out of several vaccines around the world, global share markets increased by 3.5% for the month, despite a resurgence of Covid-19 infections in some large economies.

European markets rose by 2.3% for the December month. The UK share market rose by 4.6%, despite Covid-19 lockdowns and last-minute trade negotiations at the end of Brexit transition period. This is a surprise given the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the United Kingdom due to a new viral variant. Meanwhile, emerging share markets once again produced strong monthly returns and rose by 7% in the month.

The US share market rose by 3.1%. Political uncertainties remained, leading up to the eventual departure of Donald Trump from office, before President-Elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on 20 January 2021. As the holiday season advanced, investors generally focussed more on positive developments than on political issues.

The New Zealand share market rose by 2.6%, while the Australian share market rose by 2.5%. Although the New Zealand share market did not rise as much as the global share market, it’s growth still reflected an overall positive New Zealand investor sentiment.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand continued to keep interest rates low. The New Zealand dollar rose more than 2.5% against the US dollar, reflecting the decreasing likelihood that the Reserve Bank will introduce a negative Official Cash Interest rate in 2021.

Government bonds, both in New Zealand and internationally, remain a popular central bank tool to support economic stimulus. We expect the extremely easy monetary policy set by New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and overseas central banks to continue for the foreseeable future. Monetary authorities do not want to risk reducing activity in their economies already hit hard by demand and supply shocks arising from Covid-19.

We can expect the market ups and downs to continue for some time. It’s helpful to remember that KiwiSaver is an investment, and market movements are a normal part of investing.

It’s important to keep your financial goals in mind when you’re thinking about investments, including your KiwiSaver account. That’s why making sure you’re in a suitable fund is important, and if you are, hang in there, as for most members KiwiSaver is a long-term investment.

One of the benefits of being with a full-service provider like AMP is that we have a team of experienced advisers who can help you make sense of what’s going on. We can also talk to you about getting a plan in place to help you get on track with your KiwiSaver – we’re here to help.

You can view December's returns for the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme here.

You can view December's returns for the NZ Retirement Trust here.

November 2020


GLOBAL SHARE MARKETS WERE EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG IN NOVEMBER.

Despite a resurgence of Covid-19 infections in some large economies, with vaccine prospects improving, global share markets increased by 12% for the month.

European markets rose by 18% for the November month, its strongest performance on record. The Dow Jones Index recorded its largest one-month rise since early 1987 with the US share market up by 11%, after confidence improved following the Presidential election as political leaders in the US started to work together.

The UK share market rose by 12.4% for the month despite Covid-19 lockdowns and Brexit looming around the corner. Meanwhile, emerging share markets managed a 9.3% gain.

The New Zealand market on the other hand rose by 5.6% for the month while the Australian share market rose by 10.2%. Despite the New Zealand share market not rising as sharply as the global share market, it still reflected an overall positive New Zealand investor sentiment.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand continued to keep interest rates low. The New Zealand dollar rose more than 6% against the US dollar reflecting the decreasing likelihood of the Reserve Bank introducing a negative Official Cash Interest rate in 2021. Government bonds, both in New Zealand and internationally, remain a popular central bank tool to support economic stimulus. We expect the extremely easy monetary policy set by New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and overseas central banks to continue for the foreseeable future, as monetary authorities do not want to risk reducing activity in their economies already hit hard by demand and supply shocks arising from Covid-19. We can expect the market ups and downs to continue for some time. It’s helpful to remember that KiwiSaver is an investment, and market movements are a normal part of investing.

It’s important to keep your financial goals in mind when you’re thinking about investments, including your KiwiSaver account. That’s why making sure you’re in a suitable fund is important, and if you are, hang in there, as for most members KiwiSaver is a long-term investment.

One of the benefits of being with a full-service provider like AMP is that we have a team of experienced advisers who can help you make sense of what’s going on. We can also talk to you about getting a plan in place to help you get on track with your KiwiSaver – we’re here to help.

You can view November's returns for the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme here.
You can view November's returns for the NZ Retirement Trust here.

October 2020


GLOBAL SHARE MARKETS WERE WEAKER FOLLOWING THE RESURGENCE OF COVID-19 IN EUROPE AND THE US ELECTIONS.

Global share markets declined by 3% for the month. The resurgence of Covid-19 infections in Europe and BREXIT negotiations contributed to this decline. Moreover, with the unresolved US fiscal stimulus package before the US presidential election, investors were left disappointed which further contributed to a weaker overall market return.

The European markets were the weakest, dropping by 7.3% for the month due to the resurgence of Covid-19. The US market dropped by 2.7% for the month, signalling disappointed investor sentiments that the US fiscal stimulus package plan had not been concluded by US politicians. Meanwhile, emerging markets managed a 2% rise. The New Zealand market on the other hand, was more positive and rose by 2.9% while the Australian share market rose by 2.0% for the month. This reflects positive New Zealand investor sentiments.

Central banks continued to keep interest rates low, reflecting concerns about the economic impact of Covid-19 with still no recent updates on major vaccine progress. Government bonds, both in New Zealand and internationally, remain a popular central bank tool to support economic stimulus. We expect the extremely easy monetary policy set by New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and overseas central banks to continue for the foreseeable future, as monetary authorities do not want to risk reducing activity in their economies already hit hard by demand and supply shocks arising from Covid-19.

We can expect the market ups and downs to continue for some time. It’s helpful to remember that KiwiSaver is an investment, and market movements are a normal part of investing.

It’s important to keep your financial goals in mind when you’re thinking about investments, including your KiwiSaver account. That’s why making sure you’re in a suitable fund is important, and if you are, hang in there, as for most members KiwiSaver is a long-term investment.

One of the benefits of being with a full-service provider like AMP is that we have a team of experienced advisers who can help you make sense of what’s going on. We can also talk to you about getting a plan in place to help you get on track with your KiwiSaver – we’re here to help.

You can view October's returns for the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme here.
You can view October's returns for the NZ Retirement Trust here.

Important information

While care has been taken to supply information in this article and on this website that is accurate, no entity or person gives any warranty of reliability or accuracy, or accepts any responsibility arising in any way from any error or omission.

The information included in this article is of a general nature, contains opinions of AMP and external parties, and does not constitute financial or other professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek financial advice or other professional advice relevant to your personal circumstances. For financial advice, we recommend you contact your Adviser. If you don't have an Adviser, contact us on 0800 267 5494 and we can put you in touch with one.

AMP KiwiSaver Scheme
AMP Wealth Management New Zealand Limited is the issuer and manager of the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme (the 'Scheme'). The Supervisor of the Scheme is The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited.
For more information, download a copy of the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme Product Disclosure Statement and Fund Update Booklet, which have been lodged on the Scheme's offers register entry at companiesoffice.govt.nz/disclose.

New Zealand Retirement Trust
For more information, download a copy of the NZRT Product Disclosure Statement (Workplace or Personal sections) and Fund Update Booklet. AMP Wealth Management New Zealand Limited is the issuer and manager of the New Zealand Retirement Trust. The Supervisor is the New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited.