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15 July 2021 / INVESTMENT INSIGHTS

Global Asset Allocation Viewpoints

July 2021

Market Perspective

As of 30 June 2021

  • Global economic growth to remain strong through the back half of the year, albeit off peak levels, as monetary and fiscal policy support moderates from crisis-level highs.
  • Longer-term interest rates likely challenged to move higher as growth moderates, inflation softens from recent peaks, and Federal Reserve moves closer to tapering asset purchases, while short-term rates could begin to price in tighter policy leading to a flattening yield curve.
  • While still supportive, global monetary policy should continue to see a gradual trend toward tightening among central banks, notably within emerging markets (EM), facing rising inflation.
  • Key risks to global markets include the path forward for the coronavirus, elevated inflation, central bank missteps, higher taxes, stricter regulatory environment, and increasing geopolitical concerns.

Portfolio Positioning

As of 30 June 2021

  • We remain modestly underweight equities relative to bonds and cash as the risk/reward profile looks less compelling for equities and could be vulnerable to fading policy support, increased rate volatility, high inflation levels, and potential tax increases.
  • Within equities, we continue to favor value-oriented equities globally, U.S. small-caps, and EM stocks as we expect cyclically exposed companies to continue to benefit from strong economic growth and global reopening.
  • Within fixed income we continue to have a bias toward shorter duration, higher yielding, and inflation sensitive sectors through overweights to high yield bonds, floating rate loans, and to a lesser extent, short-term Treasury inflation protected securities, which we moderated over the month.

Market Themes

As of 30 June 2021

Easy on the Austerity

Following a shaky start to its vaccine rollout, Europe appears to be recovering as businesses are reopening and lockdowns continue to ease in some areas. As the European Central Bank debates the extension of its EUR 1.85 trillion asset purchase program, due to expire next March, additional fiscal stimulus is being rolled out through the unprecedented European Union recovery fund, worth up to EUR 800 billion. While the fund shows signs of growing unity among member nations, lines are being drawn once again as members take sides on scaling back monetary policies put in place amid the pandemic. Leaders such as Mario Draghi, Italy’s prime minister, warn that shifting back to austerity too soon could ignite another decade-long recovery similar to the post-global financial crisis period. With Europe already lagging the U.S. and China, shifting back to austerity too soon could prevent the region from heading on a path towards more sustainable growth.

Euro Area GDP

As of 30 June 2021

Euro Area GDP

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Sources: Haver Analytics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, IMF.
1Global Equity Index is represented by MSCI All Country World Index. Total return in USD.
2Source: FactSet. Financial data and analytics provider FactSet. Copyright 2021 FactSet. All Rights Reserved.
FOR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONALS ONLY. NOT FOR FURTHER DISTRIBUTION.

Curbing Our Enthusiasm

Global equity markets represented by MSCI All Country World Index have returned nearly 12% year-to-date in U.S. dollar terms amid signs that the worst of the pandemic may finally be behind us. But, as supportive trends that have fueled the global economic growth rebound start to fade, it’s hard to envision equity markets expanding at the same record pace. In the back half of the year, we expect that growth will be off peak levels, monetary policy will continue to tighten, fiscal stimulus will be at lower levels, and higher taxes are likely. Adding to these headwinds, equity markets are sitting at elevated valuations supported by low interest rates, input costs are rising, and earnings growth is expected to moderate next year. Despite these trends, equities remain attractive as pent-up demand continues to be unleashed and while moderating, growth remains elevated. However, the ultra-easy environment is changing quickly and may lead to more volatility ahead, so investors may need to curb their enthusiasm for equity returns going forward.

Global Equity Index Returns1,2

As of 30 June 2021

Global Equity Index Returns

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Sources: Haver Analytics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, IMF.
1Global Equity Index is represented by MSCI All Country World Index. Total return in USD.
2Source: FactSet. Financial data and analytics provider FactSet. Copyright 2021 FactSet. All Rights Reserved.
FOR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONALS ONLY. NOT FOR FURTHER DISTRIBUTION.

Regional Backdrop

As of 30 June 2021

United States

Positives

  • Vaccinations widely distributed, case count near lows
  • Infrastructure spending bill likely to be passed
  • Healthy consumer balance sheets and high savings rate
  • Strong earnings expectations

Negatives

  • Elevated stock and bond valuations
  • High corporate and government debt levels
  • Fed dovishness has peaked
  • Corporate taxes likely to rise

Europe

Positives

  • Higher exposure to more cyclically oriented sectors that should benefit from economic recovery
  • Pace of vaccinations has significantly improved
  • Monetary and fiscal policy remain accommodative
  • Equity valuations remain attractive relative to the US

Negatives

  • Limited long-term catalysts for growth
  • Limited scope for European Central Bank to stimulate further
  • Brexit likely to negatively impact trade
  • Potential for new coronavirus variants to cause continued outbreaks

Developed Asia/Pacific

Positives

  • Outbreaks milder than in the rest of the world thus far
  • Cyclical orientation should benefit from economic rebound
  • Strong fiscal and monetary support
  • Improving corporate governance

Negatives

  • Vaccination effort has been slower than other developed markets
  • Weak economic growth going into crisis, driven by long term demographic headwind
  • Limited long-term catalysts for growth

Emerging Markets

Positives

  • Exposure to cyclical areas of economy should benefit from broad global recovery
  • Commodity prices are elevated
  • Chinese economy remains strong
  • Equity valuations attractive relative to developed markets

Negatives

  • COVID risk remains high in Central Asia and Latin America
  • Vaccine supply and distribution infrastructure are well behind developed markets (excluding China)
  • Stimulus from China is fading
  • Limited ability to enact fiscal stimulus (excluding China)

Asset Allocation Committee Positioning

As of 30 June 2021

Portfolio Implementation

As of 30 June 2021

Portfolio Implementation

Source: T. Rowe Price.
Neutral equity portfolio weights broadly representative of MSCI All Country World Index regional weights; includes allocation to real assets equities. Core global fixed Income allocation broadly representative of Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index regional weights.
Information presented herein is hypothetical in nature and is shown for illustrative, informational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice or are commendation to take any particular investment action. This material is not intended to forecast or predict future events and does not guarantee future results. These are subject to change without further notice.
Source for Bloomberg Barclays index data: Bloomberg Index Services Limited. See additional disclosures on final page for more information.
FOR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONALS ONLY. NOT FOR FURTHER DISTRIBUTION.

Additional Disclosures

Certain numbers in this report may not equal stated totals due to rounding.

Source: Unless otherwise stated, all market data are sourced from FactSet. Financial data and analytics provider FactSet. Copyright 2021 FactSet. All Rights Reserved.

Source: MSCI. MSCI and its affiliates and third party sources and providers (collectively, “MSCI”) makes no express or implied warranties or representations and shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to any MSCI data contained herein. The MSCI data may not be further redistributed or used as a basis for other indices or any securities or financial products. This report is not approved, reviewed, or produced by MSCI. Historical MSCI data and analysis should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of any future performance analysis, forecast or prediction. None of the MSCI data is intended to constitute investment advice or a recommendation to make (or refrain from making) any kind of investment decision and may not be relied on as such.

Bloomberg Index Services Limited. BLOOMBERG® is a trademark and service mark of Bloomberg Finance L.P. and its affiliates (collectively “Bloomberg”). BARCLAYS® is a trademark and service mark of Barclays Bank Plc (collectively with its affiliates, “Barclays”), used under license. Bloomberg or Bloomberg’s licensors, including Barclays, own all proprietary rights in the Bloomberg Barclays Indices. Neither Bloomberg nor Barclays approves or endorses this material, or guarantees the accuracy or completeness of any information herein, or makes any warranty, express or implied, as to the results to be obtained therefrom and, to the maximum extent allowed by law, neither shall have any liability or responsibility for injury or damages arising in connection therewith.

Key risks –The following risks are materially relevant to the information highlighted in this material:
Even if the asset allocation is exposed to different asset classes in order to diversify the risks, a part of these assets is exposed to specific key risks.
Equity risk – in general, equities involve higher risks than bonds or money market instruments.
Credit risk – a bond or money market security could lose value if the issuer’s financial health deteriorates.
Currency risk – changes in currency exchange rates could reduce investment gains or increase investment losses.
Default risk – the issuers of certain bonds could become unable to make payments on their bonds.
Emerging markets risk – emerging markets are less established than developed markets and, therefore, involve higher risks.
Foreign investing risk – investing in foreign countries other than the country of domicile can be riskier due to the adverse effects of currency exchange rates; differences in market structure and liquidity, as well as specific country, regional, and economic developments.
Interest rate risk – when interest rates rise, bond values generally fall. This risk is generally greater the longer the maturity of a bond investment and the higher its credit quality.
Real estate investments risk – real estate and related investments can be hurt by any factor that makes an area or individual property less valuable.
Small- and mid-cap risk – stocks of small and mid-size companies can be more volatile than stocks of larger companies.
Style risk – different investment styles typically go in and out of favour depending on market conditions and investor sentiment.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This material is being furnished for general informational purposes only. The material does not constitute or undertake to give advice of any nature, including fiduciary investment advice, and prospective investors are recommended to seek independent legal, financial and tax advice before making any investment decision. T. Rowe Price group of companies including T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and/or its affiliates receive revenue from T. Rowe Price investment products and services. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment and any income from it can go down as well as up. Investors may get back less than the amount invested.

The material does not constitute a distribution, an offer, an invitation, a personal or general recommendation or solicitation to sell or buy any securities in any jurisdiction or to conduct any particular investment activity. The material has not been reviewed by any regulatory authority in any jurisdiction.

Information and opinions presented have been obtained or derived from sources believed to be reliable and current; however, we cannot guarantee the sources' accuracy or completeness. There is no guarantee that any forecasts made will come to pass. The views contained herein are as of the date noted on the material and are subject to change without notice; these views may differ from those of other T. Rowe Price group companies and/or associates. Under no circumstances should the material, in whole or in part, be copied or redistributed without consent from T. Rowe Price.

The material is not intended for use by persons in jurisdictions which prohibit or restrict the distribution of the material and in certain countries the material is provided upon specific request.  

It is not intended for distribution to retail investors in any jurisdiction.

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