Over the month of December, markets broadly achieved positive returns as vaccine roll-outs and another fiscal stimulus package in the US offset bad news on the virus front. Restrictions tightened in many countries as new COVID-19 cases across the developed world surged, as a new more infectious COVID-19 strain began to spread globally. However, vaccination programs have given markets hope that economies will fully reopen over the next year.
While COVID-19 cases continued to soar in the US, UK and Continental Europe over November, markets shrugged off short-term developments and soared on the back of positive vaccine news and the US presidential election results. Domestic and developed overseas share markets achieved strong positive returns for the month, with outperformance in sectors that are expected to benefit from a removal in restrictions next year, such as energy.
Overseas shares posted negative returns in October 2020 as fears of a slowdown in the recovery materialised with onerous restrictions being re-imposed amid resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Overseas shares fell back into negative territory returning -3.2%, in hedged terms, over October. Global economic data for Q3 is showing a rebound from a similar sized economic collapse but forward looking data is already indicating another slowdown ahead, especially in Europe and the United Kingdom (UK) as further cases have brought back restrictions.
For the month of August, growth assets performed well as investor momentum remained strong. Economic data continued to be encouraging with another strong set of US nonfarm payrolls. As the world continues to open up, retail sales for the US, UK and Eurozone are now back at pre-COVID-19 levels, following the worst quarterly GDP declines on record for most countries. Purchasing manager indices remain in expansionary territory. Australian small caps was the strongest performing equity market, returning 7.2% over August whilst overseas hedged investors realised greater relative gains from the continued appreciation of the Australian Dollar.
On 23 July 2020, a ‘mini-Budget’ was delivered by the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. We provide a summary including the announcements made in relation to the COVID-19 early release of super and more. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the full 2020-21 Federal Budget will be delivered on 6 October 2020.
The month of July generally saw positive returns across asset classes, as growth assets continue to gain. Emerging Markets were the strongest performing market in equities, with the MSCI EM Index (UH) returning 4.6% over the month. On the domestic front, Australian small caps outperformed large caps and overseas hedged investors realised greater gains from the appreciation of the Australian dollar.
Growth assets continued to recover over June, but at a slower and more volatile pace than in May. Markets were encouraged by the gradual reopening across the developed world and by economic activity indicators, such as non-farm payrolls, but the optimism was tempered by evidence of the pandemic regaining pace in the US and some large emerging market countries such as India and Brazil.