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Together against grievances in cacao cultivation

Every European consumes an average of 5.2kg of chocolate per year. While demand keeps rising, climate change and social problems in connection with the main ingredient, cacao, represent a clear challenge. Erste Asset Management is part of the initiative “CocoaAction”, a worldwide group of investors who are committed to the sustainable production and improved working conditions and standard of living of cacao farmers and their families. In this interview, Stefan Rößler, ESG investment analyst with Erste Asset Management, tells us what this initiative is all about and how it fights deficiencies and grievances in cacao production.

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The comeback of the Emerging Markets

Interview with Christian Gaier, Senior Fund Manager for emerging markets government bonds

Emerging equity and bond funds have borne the brunt of the consequences of the global uncertainties in the past years.  Wars and conflicts in the region, slumping commodity prices (especially oil), and fears of an interest rate reversal in the USA have caused many investors to withdraw their capital and “park” it in safe havens. Now signs are indicating that investors have been staging a comeback.

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Japanese stock exchanges rally after Prime Minister wins elections

The Japanese equity market has been among the weakest ones in the year to date. At -15% (as of 12 July 2016; source: Bloomberg), the Nikkei index is one of the worst performers. For euro investors, the bottom line is not as abysmal: adjusting the loss for the development of the Japanese yen vis-à-vis the euro, the performance improves to -4% (Bloomberg). In spite of the negative sign, the net result still outperforms European equities.

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Turkey’s coup attempt

What happened?

Last Friday evening, a fraction of the Army mostly medium rank officers, had undertaken a coup attempt and seized airports, bridges, TV stations and military headquarters, before attacking the Turkish parliament, leaving the building charred and damaged, and have reasoned to seize power to protect the democracy from the Government.

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YIELD RADAR: July 2016

The Brexit has been the most important driving factor on the capital markets. As a result of the referendum in the UK, we have seen a flight into liquid and less risky asset classes. US Treasury bonds were the main beneficiaries of this situation, whereas high-yield bonds came under pressure temporarily before rebounding again.

Given the Brexit process, the market participants expect significantly lower growth as well as the risk of recession for the UK and thus lower growth on continental Europe.

The market does not really expect any more interest rate hikes for this year in the USA, which has supported US corporate bonds as well as, to a smaller degree, emerging markets bonds. In the year to date emerging markets bonds have topped the performance charts among all asset classes.

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Coal: a win-win story

„For a long time, coal and oil were pretty much my life” says Gerold Permoser, Chief investment Officer (CIO) and Chief Sustainable Officer (CSIO) of Erste Asset Management.
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“Coal – harmful, unprofitable, and replaceable“

James Watt not only gave the physical unit for power its name, he also heralded the age of coal and hydrocarbon in the middle of the 18th century by improving and spreading the use of the steam engine. Today, almost 250 years later, we can see a change, even a reversal. Coal divestments, i.e. the outflow of capital from coal investments, have turned into a movement. A prominent example is the Rockefeller Foundation, which announced that it was going to withdraw completely from coal. And the intentions of the power plant operators E.ON and RWE, which want to get rid of its carbon legacy, also show that coal is currently on the way out. Stefan Rößler, ESG analyst with Erste Asset Management, explains why in the long run a withdrawal from coal is unavoidable.

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Independence Day

On 23 June the people of the UK voted in favour of an exit from the European Union. Basically the UK thus strengthened its supposed (?) state sovereignty at the expense of the economic advantages of an EU membership. For the rest of the EU, its economic and political clout weakens as a result.

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Brexit becomes reality – markets under pressure

Yesterday’s referendum in the UK surprised with a narrow majority in favour of Brexit. According to the latest results, 51.8% voted for the Brexit, i.e. the exit from the EU. Polls and betting odds had been suggesting a majority in favour of remaining (“Bremain”) in the EU.

As expected, Brexit is triggering a massive negative reaction in financial markets this morning, not the least since in the days leading up to the referendum the development of the British pound, of equity volatility, and of European and British equity indices had indicated that the majority of investors was anticipating a rejection of the Brexit.

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Central and Eastern Europe poised for comeback

Author: Dieter Kerschbaum, Communications Specialist Austria

Interest rates are at record lows in the euro area, as a result of which investors can feel a great deal of pressure to achieve acceptable yields. This situation shifts their focus back to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Central and Eastern Europe currently comes with more positive aspects than one might think. There are factors at play that might drive investor attention to this region in the foreseeable future. The risks are largely of a political nature, as the tensions with Western Europe with respect to migration, the Ukraine conflict, and the re-emergence of nationalistic economic policies suggest.

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