Lonsec Market Commentary – February 2018
The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index rose 0.4% in February, with losses during the start of the month fully regained on a total return basis. The MSCI World ex-Australia Index returned -0.6% in Australian dollar terms and -3.6% in local currency terms as global equity markets were rocked by volatility and a sharp correction early in the month.
Australian bonds returned 0.29% over February, with Australian government bonds returning 0.28% and longer-term government bonds (ten years plus) returning 0.17%. The Australian 10-year yield was flat over February at 2.81%, but jumped to a high of 2.94% early in the month.
The outlook for Australia continues to improve, with unemployment expected to approach 5% over coming years and wages growth to pick up modestly. From a monetary policy perspective, this outlook suggests that while the next move in cash rates is likely to be up, there is little urgency.
The RBA is mindful that wages growth remains low, housing activity appears to be rolling over, and the Australian dollar is still close to 80 US cents, which is probably too high for the Bank’s liking. In its March statement, the RBA had little to say about recent market turmoil, noting only that, “market volatility has increased from the very low levels of last year.”
(Lonsec February 2018, Issue Date: 09-03-2018)