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November 2021 / MARKET OUTLOOK

Global Asset Allocation: November Insights

Discover the latest global market themes

1. Market Perspective

  • While moderating, global growth to remain above trend as it continues to emerge from COVID-19. Supply chain disruptions and energy shortages in some regions could be near-term headwinds to growth.
  • Global monetary policy broadly on path towards tightening, albeit unsynchronised, with many emerging markets having already acted in response to higher inflation and to defend their currencies, while most developed market counterparts are more cautiously advancing towards tightening.
  • Global yield curves likely to face higher short-term rates on central bank tightening, while longer rates could be biased higher on near-term inflation concerns, although upside may be limited as growth expectations and inflation pressures moderate.
  • Key risks to global markets include persistent elevated inflation, central bank missteps, slowing China growth, supply chain disruption, energy shortages and increasing geopolitical concerns.

2. Portfolio Positioning

As of 31 October 2021

  • We remain modestly underweight equities relative to bonds and cash given a less compelling risk/reward profile against a backdrop of elevated valuations with more moderate return expectations. Higher rates, rising input costs related to supply chain bottlenecks and fading monetary and fiscal policy could pose challenges to near-term earnings outlook.
  • Within equities, we continue to favour value-oriented equities globally, US small-caps and emerging market stocks as we expect cyclically exposed companies to benefit from a supportive global growth profile, coupled with pent-up demand and inventory rebuilding as COVID‑19 concerns abate.
  • Within fixed income, we continue to favour shorter‑duration and higher‑yielding sectors through overweights to high yield bonds and emerging market debt supported by our constructive credit outlook.

3. Market Themes

Running on Empty

Just as the global economy is finally gaining traction after delta variant setbacks, some economies are facing severe energy shortages, with energy prices up over 70% since last year. The impacts are being felt across Europe, which is facing shortages of natural gas, threatening to leave households without heat as winter approaches. Meanwhile, China, which cut coal production to meet carbon emissions initiatives, has quickly reversed course as the cutbacks created shortages, leading to fears of moderating growth. In the US, although not seeing the same degree of supply concerns, fuel prices have more than doubled since last year amid stronger demand and lower production levels. What has also been exposed amid this energy crunch is the pace of the transition from traditional energy sources to renewables. While the push toward green initiatives continues, economies will need to balance decommissioning traditional sources of energy as they replace with renewables, otherwise economies could find themselves running on empty, particularly if faced with future shocks.

On Back Order

Supply chain concerns have reached a crescendo recently as skyrocketing demand is overwhelming already strained supply chains, threatening to introduce the difficult combination of high inflation and slowing economic growth. Companies are citing the supply chain bottlenecks at every link—including labour shortages, backlogs at ports, increased delivery times and limited trucking availability—leading to increased input costs and concerns about impacts on corporate margins. While higher wages may help consumers offset costs and companies with pricing power may be able to push through higher input costs for now, it looks like consumers and companies will have to navigate inflationary pressures well into the middle of next year. Although some of the supply chain pressures have eased in recent weeks, with the price of shipping containers reaching a peak, the holidays are just around the corner, and companies will likely still be struggling to get products on the shelves as consumers are faced with limited supply and higher prices.

 

For a region-by-region overview, see the full report (PDF).

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