Thu, Apr 24, 2014
A A A
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Industry Updates

Opalesque Industry Update - Asia will continue to grow regardless of global economic conditions

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Asia will attract increased investor flows whether the global economic recovery begins firing on all cylinders or splutters to a temporary halt, according to Legg Mason Source subsidiary Western Asset Management, which manages $456bn of fixed income assets across the globe.

While markets remain concerned about the fragility of the global economic recovery amid heightened geopolitical risks, Julia Ho, a portfolio manager on the $627m Legg Mason Western Asset Asian Opportunities Fund, says the underlying fundamental story should remain positive, particularly for Asian bond, currency and credit markets.

“Asia is in a somewhat unique position of potentially win ning in both a positive and negative global scenario,” she says. “If the global economy begins firing on all cylinders, investors on the sidelines might start feeling the confidence to deploy more capital into Asia, and investors that are already in Asia will begin to allocate more heavily to riskier investments such as currencies and credit.

“If the economy experiences a misstep, investors will quickly retrench and a flight-to-quality will ensue, thereby benefiting government bonds. But we could also see investors redeploy capital into Asia as a diversifier to their own regions, simi lar to how we saw large flows from Europe over the past couple of years.”

A key risk to this constructive outlook, says Ho, is inflation expectations. While she believes policymakers in most Asian countries have done a “respectable” job of controlling inflation expectations despite strong growth and burgeoning com­modity and food prices, she says they must remain vigilant.

“A sharp increase in inflation expectations could be detrimental to bond and currency prices. With inflation pushing upward, we expect central banks to continue to deploy the many tools in their arsenals, including targeted measures, such as those taken in Singapore and China to cool the property markets, as well as broad policies such as increasing policy rates and allowing their currencies to strengthen.”

Against this backdrop, Ho says the Asia team at Western will remain tactical in its approach to interest rate management, continuing to favour an overall defensive duration posture, in which Western’s bond portfolios maintain underweight short-term rate positions in favour of long-term rates. The team also expects to maintain its overweight to appreciating currencies in the region. “We expect Asian currencies to benefit from several trends, including strong fundamentals, investor flows to Asia from lower-yielding markets, higher central bank rates and policymakers’ use of currencies as an inflation-fighting tool.”

Ho says the positive fundamental backdrop will also support the team’s preference for Asian corporate bonds.

Press Release
bc

What do you think?

   Use "anonymous" as my name    |   Alert me via email on new comments   |   
Banner
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing
  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. Opalesque Exclusive: Rainwater and Blue Sky - an Australian water fund emerges[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Financial reporters often tout new funds and investments as uncorrelated investments, but few can say they are uncorrelated to everything but weather. Enter Blue Sky Alternative's water fund which invests in the permanent rights to Australia's water. Sev

  2. Regulatory – Expect greater SEC scrutiny of hedge funds that share information or collaborate in advance of their trades, Alternative funds to get SEC test for leverage, liquidity[more]

    Expect greater SEC scrutiny of hedge funds that share information or collaborate in advance of their trades From Thelawyer.com: A recent Wall Street Journal article — ‘Activist investors often leak their plans to a favoured few’ — focused attention on ‘activist’ investors and stock analy

  3. …And Finally – This week's least competent criminal is Austrian[more]

    From ABCnews.go.com: A German sought by authorities for alleged fraud has been arrested in Austria — after dropping into a police station to ask officers whether he was under investigation. Police in Salzburg said the 59-year-old man walked into a police station in the city on Friday night. Sp

  4. Investing – Hedge funds find pitfalls along with profits in real estate ventures, Marcato Capital Management makes new bet on Dillard’s[more]

    Hedge funds find pitfalls along with profits in real estate ventures From Law360.com: Hedge funds have joined the rush to real estate deals and development in recent months to close the financing gap left by tightening bank standards, but attorneys say many aren't prepared for the disclo

  5. South Korea’s state fund plans to double alternative investments[more]

    From Businessweek.com: Korea Investment Corp., the nation’s $72 billion sovereign wealth fund, plans to double alternative investments over the next 10 years to compensate for declining returns from stocks and bonds. “We’ll have to embrace the lower return expectation from traditional assets and tha