Macro Matters is a global investment blog brought to you by LGIM’s Asset Allocation team. We’re focused on sharing our most compelling thinking to help you become more informed investors.
Correlations show us how assets have moved relative to each other in the past. As multi-asset investors, one of our key objectives is to identify assets that improve diversification. To do this, we try to combine assets with low or even negative correlations. This sounds easy, but can be surprisingly difficult in reality.
Emerging market assets have long been a source of both potential profit and peril for investors. 2017 saw an incredible streak of capital inflows into emerging market equities, bonds and currencies. Whilst returns are still characteristically volatile, this historically maverick asset class has become more mature and resilient than ever before, as was highlighted during February's market sell-off.
The UK inflation-linked government bond ('linker') market is dominated by vast UK defined benefit pension schemes. Derisking by schemes tends to increase demand for linkers as equity prices rise, pushing up their prices. For multi-asset investors seeking diversification, that could make them less attractive to buy.
The US yield curve has consistently flattened since the Federal Reserve began tightening monetary policy several years ago. History strongly suggests that this is an entirely normal market reaction to a rate hiking cycle. If short-term interest rates continue to rise at the pace we expect, we could well be looking at an inverted curve by the middle of 2019.
Following the EU referendum, financial markets initially expected the worst, with the weakness of the pound the clearest indication of deteriorating sentiment. And yet, many saw the depreciation as an opportunity for the economy to rebalance away from consumer spending and towards more trade. With this in mind, how successful has the UK been?