Sygnia Itrix MSCI Japan ETF - Jun 19
Developed-market central-bank policy easing has contributed to the longest-ever economic expansion - over 10 years. Global monetary policy easing reached new highs as the universe of negative-yielding bonds jumped to a record $13tn, gold to six-year highs and the S&P500 to all-time highs. Both the US Fed and ECB vowed to cut rates if necessary. The Bank of Japan has continued to ease monetary policy, because, on the back of trade tensions, global-manufacturing confidence indices have fallen into contraction, Citi's Global Economic Surprise Index has experienced the longest period of disappointing economic data on record and the Brent crude oil price dropped 20%. Amid escalating disputes, the World Bank downgraded its global growth outlook to the weakest pace in three years, forecasting 2.6% this year. The largest threat to the economic outlook is U.S. President Donald Trump's trade and tech wars, the latter being of particular concern, as 27% of the S&P500 Tech sector's revenue is exposed to China. Trump has an incentive to keep the market buoyant with 2020 elections around the corner, but the risk of miscalculation is high when using untested tools. Trump said that his meeting with China's President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders' summit in Osaka went far better than expected and that he would not increase tariffs. He added, however, that he was 'in no hurry' to cut a trade deal.
South Africa's Q1 GDP fell the most in a decade, down 3.2% on the back of loadshedding issues. Seven of nine areas of the economy are in decline: agriculture declined a massive 13%, with farmers still unsure of their property rights, and mining was down 10% on power concerns. The rand lost considerable ground, breaking above R15 to the USD, and the yield curve rose to its steepest levels on record in response to a statement by ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule that the organisation had decided to change the Reserve Bank mandate and begin 'quantity' easing. The ANC's economic transformation head, Enoch Godongwana, SARB governor Lesetja Kganyago, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that the party would not seek to nationalise the central bank nor expand its mandate. The South African Chamber of Commerce expressed concern that the government is 'at war with itself'. The debt market is concerned about continuing to fund state-owned enterprises, after Ramaphosa announced more front-end loaded support for Eskom in his State of the Nation address. Inflation rose to 4.5% in May, but the SARB's forecasting model suggests there is room for interest rate cuts. The IHS Markit US manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) declined to 50.1, its lowest level since September 2009, and consumer confidence is at two-year lows. The Fed cut its inflation forecast and suggested a rate cut could happen as early as July unless trade tensions and economic data improve. The 10-year Treasury note yield fell below 2% as US rates markets moved to price in roughly three rate cuts from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in 2019. This aggressive move is normally only associated with an economic recession, but the Fed is changing the reaction function that will encourage an inflation overshoot.
Eurozone inflation expectations plunged to a record low (1.1% on the five-year forward rate) as investors worry that the economy is slipping into 'Japanification', an inescapable period of stagnant growth and low interest rates. Unsatisfied with the market's view, Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, announced possible interest rates cuts and a fresh round of bond purchases. The TLTRO-III stimulus programme will start in September, and tax cuts have been announced in some of the major economies.
After three years of political deadlock over Brexit, the ruling Conservative Party is picking a new leader. Boris Johnson is the favourite to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May, and the new prime minister should be in place by the end of July. Johnson vowed to deliver Brexit with or without a deal. Brussels has underlined that it will not reopen Britain's EU withdrawal deal, stressing that the next prime minister should honour the deal that Theresa May brokered.
China's central bank added 500 billion yuan ($72 billion) to the financial system, the second-largest injection on record. The financial support was required after the government's first seizure of a bank in more than two decades drove up funding costs. The Chinese services sector is holding up well despite a slowing manufacturing sector (Chinese factory output slowed to its weakest pace on record), and infrastructure investment is being encouraged in order to ensure growth does not slow beyond the government's 'reasonable range'.
India's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year, to 5.75%, the lowest level in nine years, and signalled the possibility of further easing in a bid to support growth. However, the central bank suffered a blow to its credibility after the resignation of deputy governor Viral Acharya.
Russia's central bank cut the key interest rate and hinted at future reductions. Australia's central bank cut interest rates to a record low of 1.25%.
Fitch and Moody downgraded Mexico's credit rating against the backdrop of rising trade tensions. Fortunately, President Trump 'indefinitely suspended' his plans for U.S. tariffs on Mexico, removing the threat of a 5% tariff on Mexican imports.
Turkey's opposition party, the Republican People's Party, secured 54.2% of the vote in a re-run Istanbul mayoral election, striking a blow to President Tayyip Erdogan.
The Sygnia Itrix MSCI Japan Index ETF delivered -1.5% for the quarter in rand terms, in line with its benchmark, the MSCI Japan Index. The Fund benefitted from exposure to Sony, Nintendo and Fast Retailing, while its exposure to SoftBank Group, Takeda Pharmaceutical and Central Japan Railway detracted from performance.
There were several changes to the tracked index’s constituents over the period, including the addition of Advantest, PeptiDream and Itochu Techno-Solutions and the removal of Asics,
Takashimaya and DeNA. The Fund remains true to its investment objective of delivering returns that mirror those of the MSCI Japan Index.
The investment policy of the portfolio shall be to track the Index as closely as possible.
The portfolio shall not buy or sell constituent securities, any other securities or financial instruments for the purpose of making a profit, nor for any purpose other than tracking the Index.
As a secondary objective, securities held by the portfolio from time to time may be utilised to generate income for the benefit of investors, provided that such activities do not conflict with the investment policy as stated in the clauses above.
Investors can obtain participatory interests in the portfolio by acquiring participatory interests on the secondary market or subscribing for participatory interests in the portfolio. In order to achieve this object the manager may, subject to the Act and the Deed create and issue an unlimited number of participatory interests in the portfolio.
The portfolio will not be managed according to traditional methods of active management, which involve the buying and selling of securities based on economic, financial and market analysis and investing judgment. Instead the investment objective and style will be full replication of the Index. As a result the financial or other condition of any company or entity included from time to time in the Index will not result in the elimination of its securities from the portfolio unless the securities of such company or entity are removed from the Index itself.
The portfolio shall also be entitled, in its discretion, to employ such investment strategies as will most effectively give effect to the investment policies of the portfolio.
The composition of the portfolio will be adjusted periodically to conform to changes in the composition and weighting of the securities in the Index so as to ensure that the composition and weighting of the scheme's portfolio are a reflection of the composition and weighting of the securities contained in the Index.
The portfolio will hold securities purely for the economic rights and benefits attaching thereto, and accordingly if a takeover bid is made for shares of a company included in the Index, the portfolio will not tender shares in respect thereof. Securities held by the portfolio which are subject to a takeover bid will only be surrendered if such surrender is mandatory (and then only to the extent of such mandatory surrender) in terms of applicable law or under the rules of a regulatory authority or body having jurisdiction. If a takeover bid results in a company no longer qualifying for inclusion in the Index, any shares of the company held by the portfolio after the takeover bid will be disposed of by the portfolio, and the proceeds will be applied in effecting the appropriate adjustments to the portfolio.
To the extent necessary for the purposes of achieving its investment policies, the portfolio may hold assets in liquid form. Any assets held in liquid form may be invested in short?term investments such as banker's acceptances and certificates of deposit.
The portfolio's ability to replicate the price and yield performance of the Index will be affected by the costs and expenses incurred by the portfolio.
ETF - Local CIS with 100% investment in foreign equities as approved by FSB