Asian Stock Markets in 2015:

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1 Asian Stock Markets in 2015: Expected trends and the role of Asian Funds Passports Dr. Andrew Freris CEO, Ecognosis Advisory Ltd March

2 Summary, Part I The Asian markets which outperformed in 2014, will likely do so again in 2015: India, the Philippines, Thailand, possibly Indonesia. China to improve after 1H15. Asian short and longer term interest rates, except for Hong Kong, have long decoupled from USD rates and will continue to move independently from the moves of the US Fed. Most rates in Asia will likely decline in 2015 thus supporting equities. In any case, we expect that the Fed will not hike in 2015 and that, too, will be supportive for most equity markets including Asian. 2

3 Summary, Part II Of the G3 economies, clearly the US will outperform in 2015 both in macro and equities. We do not expect that the Fed will hike in 2015 as the result will be lower UST yields, stronger USD and further volatility in the US markets. If the Fed does hike, it will be only once to signal the end of zero rates. Japan's third arrow will likely never arrive and thus the longer term prospects of the economy will be pinned to the money printing press, not an attractive prospects for earnings. The recovery of the EU will be long- drawn as there is no political will to implement structural reforms, except zero rates for ever (! ) 3

4 The Asian Equity Outperformers: China, India, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia (2014=100) Jan 14 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan 15 Feb SET PCOMP JCI SENSEX SHCOMP SPX Source: Bloomberg 4

5 The Asian Equity Underperformers: Hong Kong, Taiwan, S. Korea, Singapore, Malaysia (2014=100) Jan 14 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan 15 Feb SPX HSI TWSE FSSTI KOSPI FBMKLCI Source: Bloomberg 5

6 Comments on Relative Performance ( to S&P 500) Underperformers S.Korea s poor cyclicals may continue in 1H.15 while looser monetary policy to stays loose. Weak JPY is not to blame, the link to Korean exports is exaggerated. The HSI may get spooked in 2H.15 if markets believe that the Fed will hike. Outperformers Note that China struggled for most of the year before the final break in September. It may struggle also during 1H.15 untill macros shape up. India did well under the Modi impulse and may still keep the impetus Thailand-the Teflon market for 2015? 6

7 Asian Equities: 12M Forward Valuations The forward valuation of the better Asian performing markets, such as the Philippines, India and Thailand are not excessive when compared to the valuation of S&P 500 both in terms of P/E and P/B metrics. Market P/E P/B HSI (Hong Kong) SHCOMP (Shanghai) TWSE (Taiwan) KOSPI (S. Korea) FSSTI (Singapore) SENSEX (Mumbai) FBMKLCI (Kuala Lumpur) SET (Bangkok) JCI (Jakarta) PCOMP (Philippines) SPX (S&P 500) Source: Bloomberg 7

8 Prospects for Asian Equities in 2015: Part I Asian short term rates have long decoupled from the moves of the US Fed. Asian rates to remain supportive for equities even if the Fed hikes-which we do not expect. Country Last move 1H.15 Forecast China - - Hong Kong - - Taiwan + - India - - S. Korea - - Thailand - - Malaysia + = Indonesia + = Philippines + = Singapore NA NA Source: Bloomberg Note that some rates stayed unchanged in 2014, such as those for HK and Taiwan, so last move refers to the last registered move, but not necessarily in The signs +, - and = mean hike, cut and no change respectively. 8

9 Prospects for Asian Equities in 2015: Part II India Philippines Indonesia Thailand China Outperformers Improving GDP growth Cuts in interest rates Reformist policies One of the best GDP performers in 2014-impetus stays Strong external balances Infrastructure investment initiatives Modestly reformist policies Improving fiscal balance Proactive central bank Efforts to stabilize the economy, looser monetary policy The Teflon economy, nothing sticks despite the politics BUT military government to stay Deceleration to continue but to bottom out in 2H15 Monetary and fiscal policies to remain supportive Slow return of confidence 9

10 Asian Funds Passports The basic idea behind these initiatives is to allow free cross-border trading of Asian funds based on mutual recognition of compliance and of regulatory rules and constraints The focus is on the retail versus the institutional market There are two passport schemes and one cross-border equity trading facility: THE ASIAN CIS ( Collective Investment Schemes) FRAMEWORK THE APEC REGION FUNDS PASSPORT THE HK-SHANGHAI CROSS BORDER TRADING SCHEME 10

11 What are These Schemes Supposed to Do? Facilitate the retail sales of Asian funds across Asian borders Promote the standardization of fund trading and of fund regulatory rules across participating markets Promote intra-asian portfolio investment Promote Asian portfolio diversification Increase the liquidity of the funds market Ultimately lay the foundations of an Asian type of UCITS The cross border equity schemes have similar aims 11

12 The ASEAN Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) The Association of Southeast Asian Nations scheme was launched in August 2014 involving three of its members: Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. More members to take part later on. Qualification for the funds and for their managers is a two stage process of permission granted both by the originating country and by the host country. The underlying assets of funds can include, in addition to shares, money market instruments, deposits and other CIS vehicles of financial derivatives. The host country can reject a submitted fund from the originating country. The approved funds can be offered in the host country only by locally licensed entities. 12

13 The APEC Asia Region Fund Passport (ARFP) This initiative was launched in September 2013 by Singapore, S.Korea, Australia and New Zealand. In April 2014, Philippines and Thailand become part of the consultation process in order to join. Its objectives are very similar to those of the ASEAN initiative except that the ARFP is expected to become operative in January The laws and regulations of the home country will apply in the licensing of CIS funds and of operators, while the laws of the host country will determined the authorization of the selling and of the distribution of the fund. 13

14 The Hong Kong-Shanghai Cross Border Trading Scheme After trials ( the through train experiment for one ) the cross border trading of shares was introduced in November This is not a passport scheme but a bilateral agreement to trade shares in two different markets. It is included here as it contains some similarities to the pure passport arrangements as it is expected to encourage cross - border capital flows and widen the overall accessibility of equity markets. There is a limited quota available to Hong Kong and international investors with daily limits of trading. Similar arrangements hold for Chinese investors. Some of the main difficulties in setting up the scheme were the capital gains taxation arrangements as well as delivery issues of stocks transacted. There are now n-going discussions to extend the scheme to bonds and to funds. 14

15 The Shape of Things to Come? The Hong Kong Shanghai cross border equity trading scheme turned out to be totally asymmetrical with Hong Kong investors dominating the flows, with Mainland Chinese investors only modesty tempted. Market Total Quota (CNY bl) Quota Used (%) Hong Kong 300 bl 33.5 Shanghai 250 bl

16 Broader Issues of Asian Cross-Border Funds and Stock Trading Absence of or limited liquidity in small markets Several forex rates raising the question of hedging Issues with common recognition, taxation and accounting Perhaps more emphasis on institutional investors, especially state pension funds Progressive extension to Asian bonds and credit markets, some of them quite large, such as that of China, now the third largest in the world. 16

17 Conclusion Prospects for Asian equities for 2015 are reasonably bright on the Asia-US decoupling of economic cycles and of interest rates The outlook for Asian rates in 2015 is, in general, benign with most expected moves being cuts in official rates-irrespective of what the Fed does. Asian economies have also decoupled from the G3 exports-imports cycle with Asian intraregional trade being now of importance. All this is macro equity supportive Role of passport -related flows very limited for now. Future emphasis should also include institutional as well as retail investors and regional pension funds in particular. 17

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