La prudence domine toujours dans les allocations d’actifs des gérants de portefeuilles. Les instruments de taux (dette émergente en dollar, haut rendement US) surperforment les actifs à risque (actions US, émergentes ou japonaises) depuis le début de l’année.
Voici l’analyse et les recommandations d’allocation d’actifs faites par les stratégistes de JPMorgan, emmenés par Jan Loeys.
« Fixed income continues to beat equities as investors are trimming growth expectations and wonder whether policy makers have what it takes to reverse deflationary conditions. We similarly trimmed our Q2 estimate to 1.7%, the weakest quarterly pace, so far, in this recovery. Our economists maintain that the second half should be better, as falling inflation should boost real income. But at a projected pace of 2.5%, H2 growth would still be a good half a point below what we consider the level needed to keep global inflation and unemployment rates unchanged.
The cause of the Q2 soft patch is not entirely clear, but it is quite plausibly related to the same force that has been keeping both investors and companies cautious over the past year –– fundamental uncertainty about what the future will bring. To some degree, this uncertainty is self fulfilling: “I will not invest if I do not see others investing also.” In past decades, the market has then looked for policy leadership to break this logjam through decisive stimulus measures. But here we believe that G4 policy makers are either unwilling or unable to provide much stimulus or in such internal disarray that they are actually adding to economic and market uncertainty. EM policymakers, in contrast, still have the ability and willingness to counteract an economic slump, and are thus creating greater opportunities for active investors.
More concretely, policy makers can boost spending through monetary stimulus, fiscal stimulus, or simply by providing more clarity about their future actions. In the advanced economies, nominal monetary policy rates have been cut to a GDP-weighted average of 0.5%, or more than 1% below inflation. As a result, the G4 have added various QE programs to push bond yields down to new historic lows. We expect another round of G4 QE this fall, through LSAPs, LTROs, APPs, and FLSs — see GDW on which belongs to what central bank. But many central banks are reluctant to become a lot more adventurous as DM central banks are thus likely reaching the end of the road of more monetary stimulus. We similarly should not expect much from fiscal policy, with the US, US and EA pursuing fiscal tightening of 1% – 2% of GDP. Japan is not tightening at the moment, but is planning to double sales taxes over the next 3 years. The best that fiscal policy makers could probably do at this moment is to reduce longterm uncertainty about how they plan to cut their debt loads. The Euro area could achieve the most here, but remains in too intense a debate to provide any such clarity, in our view. The US Congress could similarly greatly support its economy by agreeing to a medium-term fiscal plan, but we are unlikely to see this until after the elections, if we are lucky.
Can EM policy makers save the day for the world economy? In contrast to DM, EM policy rates, at 5.7% GDP weighted, remain a percentage point above EM inflation and have plenty of room to come down in nominal terms. Fiscal policy, with an average deficit of 2% of GDP, also has plenty of room to provide stimulus. Consensus economic forecasts do not assume such easing, but the market is starting to see that risks are biased this way, at least in monetary policy.
How do we position in this environment? Continued weak global growth and easier monetary policy are ideal for fixed income and for yield and carry strategies. We, therefore, continue to hold outright longs versus cash in well-yielding fixed income products – HG, HY, EM external and localcurrency debt. In rates markets and government bonds, we are overweight EM vs. DM, currency hedged (see last GMOS). Within equities, we remain UW Cyclicals. In FX, we stay long USD, while keeping a long EMFX funded in Euros.
Is there a case to buy EM vs. DM equities? Yes, but probably not yet and we thus prefer to wait. Our rule-based model looks to relative price and economic momentum (oya IP gap) which signals an EM UW. But the much greater room for policy easing in EM should ultimately favor EM equities. We have already positioned for this easing through the EM bond market (see above). EM equities, though, are conflicted by the realization that policy release requires first weaker EM economic data. We would like to see EM economic data and forecasts stabilize before we jump into EM equities. «