The noise

  • Over 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers began striking Wednesday this week, in what is being described as the largest US healthcare walkout in history. The key issues driving the strike are pay and staffing, with the union arguing there aren’t enough workers to handle patient care. The issue is compounded by soaring healthcare vacancies since the pandemic. The three-day action expands a months-long series of labour strikes across the US, following the lead from Hollywood writers and auto workers.

  • Data released on Friday by Halifax indicates that UK house prices experienced their sharpest decline in the 12 months to September since 2009. This follows the same story as other measures of the housing market, as Halifax said house prices were 4.7% lower last month than in September 2022. The Bank of England looking to keep interest rates high will likely constrain buyers and put downward pressure on house prices into 2024, as they remain above pre-pandemic levels.

  • The consultation period on a new code of conduct for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data and ratings providers ended on Thursday, as the FCA look to improve transparency and trust in the ESG investing space. The voluntary code will be updated and finalised by the end of 2023, as the consultation period looked to examine whether the regulatory scope of the FCA should be extended to include ESG ratings providers. This comes amid global efforts to crackdown on greenwashing, an issue that is becoming more prevalent.

‚ÄčThe numbers

GBP Performance to 05/10/2023

Equity GBP Total Return

1 Week

YTD

MSCI ACWI

-1.2%

8.2%

MSCI USA

-0.8%

11.5%

MSCI Europe

-1.7%

4.6%

MSCI UK

-2.2%

3.5%

MSCI Japan

-2.6%

8.2%

MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan

-0.9%

-3.1%

MSCI Emerging Markets

-1.3%

-1.3%

MSCI EAFE

-1.9%

4.2%

Fixed income GBP Total Return

 

UK Government

-0.1%

-5.6%

Global Aggregate GBP Hedged

-0.4%

-0.2%

Global Treasury GBP Hedged

-0.2%

0.0%

Global Investment Grade Hedged

-0.6%

-0.1%

Global High Yield hedged

-1.2%

3.4%

Currency moves

 

 

GBP vs USD

-0.8%

0.9%

GBP vs EUR

0.1%

2.3%

GBP vs JPY

-0.6%

14.3%

Commodities GBP return

 

Gold

-2.3%

-1.0%

Oil

-10.1%

5.1%

Source: Bloomberg, data as at 05/10/2023

 

The nuance

Economic policymakers worldwide have been working hard to lower inflation without triggering a major crisis, but rocketing US government bond yields have led to a global jump in borrowing costs, which is presenting new risks. The yield on the 30-year US treasury bond exceeded 5% this week for the first time since 2007, with analysts taking interest in the speed of its rise. Particularly as it comes during a time when the Federal Reserve and other central banks have indicated their rate hikes are coming to an end. An implication of rising US yield is that it has sent emerging market sovereign bonds higher as well. This indicates that the glidepath to a ‘soft landing’ is getting bumpier.
 
Emerging market debt was not the only asset class affected by rising US government bond yields, as conditions deteriorated across all corners of the corporate credit market. Companies pulled out of planned issuance, investment-grade spreads widened, and the mortgage-backed securities market fell to record lows, which could push US mortgage rates even higher as they reached 7.5% for the first time since 2000 this week. All eyes are now on the key US payrolls data due Friday as investors await to see where equity and bond markets are heading.



All investment views are presented for information only and are not a personal recommendation to buy or sell. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns, investing involves risk and the value of investments, and the income from them, may fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested. Any views expressed are based on information received from a variety of sources which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness by atomos. Any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice.

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