The global, sustainable corporate bond fund ERSTE RESPONSIBLE BOND EMERGING CORPORATE has clearly passed the threshold of EUR 100mn of assets under management. A perfect occasion to take stock. Christian Schön, member of the board of directors of Erste Asset Management, explains what role sustainable investments play in emerging markets, especially in the corporate bond segment.
US bonds have recorded a significant increase in the year to date, especially US bonds with elevated default risk, i.e. bonds with slightly worse ratings. The interest rate hikes, as expected at the beginning of the year, have not materialised. The resulting reassessment has fuelled the US bond markets.
Generally speaking, the high liquidity and the low and sometimes negative interest rates support the bond markets. The European Central Bank (ECB) is likely to step up its expansive monetary policy further. In Italy, a pragmatic solution of the banking crisis is expected.
The US central bank has assumed a wait-and-see stance, with the risk of an interest rate hike in the second half of the year remaining firmly in place.
Author: Felix Dornaus, Senior Fund Manager Emerging Markets Bonds
Brazil tactically overweighted at the moment
Most of the fundamental economic data are currently not good. In 2016, the country is in recession; for 2017, a minor growth rate of +0.7% is expected. The nominal budget deficit of 2016 is about -10%, with a primary deficit of -2.7%. This comes as a surprise, given that investors had been used to primary surpluses from Brazil. The current account is also slightly in deficit. The only silver lining is the low foreign government debt of less than 20% of GDP, accompanied by high foreign exchange reserves. We therefore do not expect any issues for bondholders with regard to the payments they are due.
Guest Author: Gabriela Tinti, Senior Fund Manager Equities Emerging Markets
Brazil is locked into a severe recession in 2016, the year of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. After negative growth of 2.5% last year, the economy will be shrinking by more than 3% in 2016. Political crises and corruption scandals in connection with the oil company Petrobras have badly affected the country. But still, the country, shaken by crisis, is in strong demand from investors.
The importance of Brazil has declined
Especially in the equity segment, the relevance of Brazil has declined in recent years. A few years ago the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) were hugely popular among investors. Mismanagement and the unfavourable development of international commodity exchanges have eaten into the weighting of Brazil in the global …
In Brazil, or more specifically, in Rio de Janeiro, the 31st Summer Olympics will be held in August of 2016. After Mexico City (1968), Moscow (1980), Seoul (1988), and Beijing (2008), this is only the fifth outing in the city of an emerging economy. The holding of the Games reflects the increasing economic importance of Brazil. After all, the 208 million citizens of Brazil generated goods and services worth USD 1,700bn last year. In terms of GDP, Brazil is already the world’s ninth-biggest economy.
Was the decision by the UK to leave the EU a non-event? Globally speaking, share prices have increased, the spreads for default risk have narrowed on many markets, and the UK central bank, i.e. the Bank of England, did not cut its key-lending rate.
Good growth rate
The economic indicators continue to suggest real economic growth of 2 to 2.5% globally. While, from a historic perspective, the growth rate is below average, in view of the disadvantageous developments such as falling productivity growth, an ageing population, weak world trade, and the pressure to deleverage, this bandwidth can actually be regarded as good.
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.
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.
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.
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.