13 March, 2020
The steep decline in oil prices during the week of 9 March 2020 sent global markets sharply lower. However, Asia may emerge as a principal beneficiary of this trend, as many countries in the region are net oil importers. In this investment note, Endre Pedersen, Chief Investment Officer, Fixed Income, Asia (ex-Japan), explains why Asian fixed income may be well placed to withstand short-term market volatility and how to capture long-term opportunities for investors.
The recent sharp decline in oil prices, coupled with the ongoing risk-off market environment, introduced additional volatility and uncertainty to global and Asian financial markets.
During periods of heightened volatility, investors are unlikely to appreciate the contrast between the region’s “winners” and “losers” that come from lower oil prices. For example, on 9 March, the Korean won, and Indian rupee both weakened against the US dollar, despite South Korea and India being beneficiaries of oil-price weakness.
Similarly, Asian credits lack differentiation at this juncture, as most Asian credit spreads widened given the already thin market liquidity conditions. We believe that some of these dislocations are driven more by market sentiment than fundamentals.
In our view, the following markets will benefit or be hurt by lower oil prices.
Once markets stabilise, the sharp fall in US Treasury yields and increased Asian yield premiums (versus developed-market bonds) should be broadly supportive for Asian hard- and localcurrency bonds. Notably, the currencies of Asia’s net energy importers should outperform on a relative basis. In the medium term, with US Treasury yields lower and the spread of COVID-19 largely contained in Asia, liquidity conditions should normalise, and this will help to recover some of these price dislocations.
Furthermore, we think that high-quality Asian investment-grade (IG) credits, including most government-backed oil names, will continue to see strong support. However, gaming and commodity issuers in the private sector may face headwinds. Investors should be more selective in credit screening for these sectors.
The case for China bonds: A potential hedge against rising inflation
We explain why they think China government bonds and the Chinese renminbi have the potential to act as hedges against US inflation.
ESG investing in Asia - the continuing evolution
As ESG investing in Asia surges, we discuss the key developments in the region’s sustainable fixed-income market and how to identify meaningful investment opportunities for a sustainable future.
Banks are back: a look at three stages of U.S. bank recovery
We explore how U.S. banks prepared to weather the economic tail risk of a pandemic and discuss why we maintain a favorable view of the segment amid prospective signs of continued strength for banks.
The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is intended solely for use by Singapore residents and is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person or entity in the United States, or any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation, or which would subject Manulife Investment Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Company Registration No. 200709952G) and/or its affiliates (collectively hereafter "Manulife") or any of Manulife's products or services to any registration requirement within such jurisdiction or country. Nothing on this website shall be construed as financial advice or an offer, invitation, solicitation or recommendation by or on behalf of Manulife to any person to buy or sell any Fund and is no indication of trading intent in any Fund managed by Manulife. None of the information or analyses presented are intended to form the basis for any investment decision, and no specific recommendations are intended.
Investments in any Fund are not deposits in, guaranteed or insured by Manulife and involve risks. The value of units in any Fund and any income accruing to it may fall or rise. Past performance of the Fund is not necessarily indicative of future performance. The Fund may use or invest in financial derivative instruments. Investors should read the prospectus and seek advice from a financial adviser, before deciding whether to subscribe for or purchase units in any Fund. In the event an investor chooses not to seek advice from a financial adviser, he should consider whether the Fund(s) is/are suitable for him. Copies of the prospectus and the product highlights sheets can be obtained from Manulife or its distributors, for further details (including the risk factors) and charges.
The Manager shall have the absolute discretion to determine whether a distribution is to be made in respect of any Fund as well as the rate and frequency of distributions to be made. The intention of the Manager to make the distribution and the distribution yield for the Fund is not guaranteed, and the Manager may review the distribution policy depending on prevailing market conditions. Distributions may be made out of income, net capital gains and/or capital. Past distribution yields and payments are not necessarily indicative of future distribution yields and payments. Any payment of distributions by the Fund may result in an immediate decrease in the net asset value per unit.
All advertisements or publications provided on this website have not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Manulife Investment Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Company Registration No. 200709952G)