BetaShares Global Market Review September 2014


US confidence drives international equities growth

David Bassanese

David Bassanese

Anticipation of an increase in US interest rates in 2015 drove a rise in the US dollar, falling commodities prices and a sustained sell-off in the Australian equities market during the month of September, according to BetaShares’ Global Market Review.

The review, which analyses performance across seven major asset classes, found that international equities was the best performer for the month, experiencing 3.7% growth as increased confidence in the economy drove the US share market higher. The price of international equities in real terms also increased as the Australian dollar headed towards a four-year low against the US dollar.

US dollar strength was a major theme in global markets in September, with the greenback rising 6.8% against the Australian dollar over the month. Continued weakness in iron ore prices was also a major contributing factor to the weak AUD, said BetaShares Chief Economist David Bassanese.

“The fear of an end to quantitative easing hurt commodities and commodity exporting equity markets such as Australia’s – and emerging markets like Brazil – particularly hard,” Mr Bassanese said. “The strength of the US dollar added another negative factor to increasing commodity supplies and only modest global growth, making it hard to be positive on the commodity price outlook.”

Australian bonds and listed property also fell over the month, as the sell-off in the local equities market suppressed any increase in bond yields as a result of anticipated Fed tightening. Low global inflation and geopolitical tensions were likely to drive a further fall in yields by the end of the year, which could also affect the property sector, said Mr Bassanese.

“Unless the RBA moves to an easing policy bias again, 10-year bond yields are likely to head back to 4% p.a. by year end,” Mr Bassanese said. “While property is holding up well thanks to the uplift in residential construction and high land values, it could also be at risk of underperformance once the increase in bond yields begins.”

Looking ahead, Mr Bassanese noted an expectation of further international equities outperformance, with the Australian dollar moving down to 85 cents by the end of the year. “Given falling commodity prices and the AUD’s still uncomfortably high real level, I would expect medium-term weakness against the US dollar, the Euro and the Pound,” he said.

“This should drive global equities outperformance against the Australian market in unhedged terms, with the current pullback in global equities likely only a correction in a broader bull market.”

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