Market Insights and Education & Resources

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What does the RBA’s latest interest rate hike mean for investors? Pendal assistant portfolio manager ANNA HONG explains

TODAY’S RBA rate hike of 50 basis points is no surprise – it’s coming off a low base.

The delay in lifting rates at the start of the year means we have a lot of ground to cover, just get back to neutral.

This month’s hike – which takes Australia’s official cash rate to 1.35 per cent -- is about tackling actual inflation.

Further hikes in coming months will be about tackling inflation expectations which are just as important to get under control.

This time last year we might have thought inflation was something that happened to others, but not here in Australia.

It’s now apparent that we are not different – just delayed. The delay has some upside though, since other developed economies can provide some guidance of what’s in store:

New ZealandUSCanadaUKAustralia
Policy rates2%1.75%1.5%1.25%1.35%
How high can this go?

Guidance aside, what everyone wants to know is: “How high can this go?

Australians have more say in the answer than we may realise.

While tackling inflation is now the number one priority, the RBA has no desire to send us into recession just for the sake of it.

That’s why the central bank is doing this delicate dance of 0.5% hike-and-see instead of breaking the economy with a one-off 2%-3% sledgehammer hit.

The Reserve Bank is trying for a soft landing. To achieve that, a few things need to dovetail for demand and supply to reach stable prices:

  • A pick-up in the global supply chain: This inflation cycle is supply induced. The faster the supply chain issues ease, the more the inflationary pressures will ease.
  • Evolution of household spending: Consumption growth is dragging prices higher while supply bottlenecks make it hard to keep up. Australian households can slow rate hikes by reducing consumption. That would allow time for supply to catch up without the RBA hiking rates by an ever-increasing amount. Recent NAB data shows we are already starting to adapt and evolve.
  • Prevent a wage-price spiral: If workers are fully compensated for the increased cost of living, no personal consumption belt-tightening will be required. A merry-go-round of ever-increasing money chasing limited goods and services will lead to sustained higher inflation requiring more hikes. Counterintuitively, accepting a real wage cut will lead to long-term gains for the greater good.

No pain, no gain. It is unpleasant to cut consumption, and no one wants a cut in real wages.

But a protracted rate hike cycle will send the Australian economy into a recession, which is no good for anyone. We have a say in how high RBA’s Cash Rate Target will be. It’s time to exercise that power.


About Anna Hong and Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest team

Anna Hong is an assistant portfolio manager with Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest team.

Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest boutique is one of the most experienced and well-regarded fixed income teams in Australia. In 2020 the team won the Australian Fixed Interest category in the Zenith awards.

With the goal of building the most defensive line of funds in Australia, the team oversees A$22 billion invested across income, composite, pure alpha, global and Australian government strategies.

Find out more about Pendal’s fixed interest strategies here


About Pendal Group

Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management.

Contact a Pendal key account manager

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Here are the main factors driving the ASX this week according to Pendal investment analyst Sondal Bensan

Find out about Pendal Focus Australian Share Fund
Find out about Pendal Horizon Sustainable Australian Share Fund

THE Australian market outperformed peers again last week as fears of a 2023 US recession started to increase.

We saw large drawdowns early in the week but they were partially recovered by Friday. The S&P/ASX 300 ended down 0.46% while the S&P 500 retreated 2.2% and the Nasdaq fell 4.13%.

Positive returns late in the week were driven by China finally beginning to reopen along with theories on peak inflation — which gathered momentum and resulted in a fall in bond yields globally. Despite this, recession fears remain.

Speculation about a smaller-than-expected 50bps rate rise at the Fed’s upcoming July meeting influenced sentiment — following weeks of a consensus view at 75bps.

A smaller rise could prove calming for markets. But it is still very much an outside chance considering recent rhetoric from the Fed.

China

After months under a zero-covid policy Shanghai is officially moving out of lockdown. China is also reducing quarantine for inbound travellers to ten days — which is seen as a small positive step.

China believes the spread of the virus will have far greater consequences than the lockdowns themselves, so there is caution on any change of course.

Unlike Australia, there has been no unemployment safety net for China’s workers. This will be the greatest challenge to overcome in restoring confidence.

China has talked up monetary support for the economy with 300 billion yuan ($A 65.6 billion) in extra funding for infrastructure projects, though nothing else has been confirmed.

Beijing is still optimistically targeting an annual GDP growth of 5.5%, so it's expected further funding will be provided.

As we’ve seen around the world, activity accelerates rapidly after exiting lockdown — and we saw that in the latest Chinese PMI data.

The likelihood that China will shift from a zero-covid policy to living with covid remains very low even as the rest of the world moves forward.

One reason is that vaccination rates among the elderly are still comparatively quite low. Unlike Australia, China has not committed to a policy on Covid-linked vaccination rates so we are unlikely to see vaccinations increase quickly.

Full vaccinations among Chinese nationals aged 60 and over have risen to 64.8% (up 8.3 percentage points) over the past two months.

If the rate continued steadily at 0.6 points per week it would hit 90% in April 2023. But in recent weeks vaccination rates have slowed, which could further delay a complete reopening.

We will likely see in China a continuation of the stop/start mentality which lowers confidence and makes it incredibly difficult for economic growth and unemployment to be restored.

On top of a global growth slowdown and strengthening US dollar, this likely means means headwinds for commodity prices.

The good news for markets with China’s reopening is easing of supply chain pressures which will create some relief from rising inflation.

Inflation

Inflation — and inflation expectations — remain a key driver of markets.

There are no short-term signs confirming inflation has peaked, but there is an emerging sentiment it may top out sooner rather than later.

Fed rhetoric may have been too strong, since the market is starting to consider the prospect of rate cuts in 2023.

Calls around peak inflation are not left of field given the current magnitude and base effects.

The economy was expected to return to normality after a post-covid, bubble year. But it’s important that the speed and magnitude of rate rises does not break the economy before then.

The pace at which inflation subsides will be key. We’ve seen signs of this already.

There have been significant falls in many hard and soft commodities as well as swelling inventories which can absorb some inflation within corporate margins as demand fades.

However, for inflation to come under control, demand must fall and supply constraints must ease.

Covid created a world of free money to support consumption, but at the same time it severely restricted the world’s ability to produce and transport goods. Add in the turmoil in energy and commodity markets spurred from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and we have the ultimate recipe for inflation.

Consumer confidence in the US continues to slide to a near decade low as inflation concerns weigh heavily on households.

Despite 3.5% unemployment in the US, the number of job vacancies is about twice that. This indicates that right now consumer confidence is not too bad at the aggregate level, though it is likely to worsen.

Rapidly falling consumer confidence will be a problem for markets and must be watched closely.

There are theories that household savings generated throughout the pandemic will act as a buffer for consumption. Using Australia as an example, household savings average around 11% compared to the 5% from the pre-pandemic days.

It is possible that a collapse in confidence within an inflationary and rising rate environment that most societies haven’t seen before will result in the savings rate rising before it helps to buffer inflation.

This would lead to a much faster fall in demand/consumption than many might expect.

On a more positive note, the supply side continues to improve — helped recently by China’s reopening. This is a positive indicator for inflation peaking.

The other factor giving hope for a near-term inflation peak is the rapid reversal in many commodities from their previous high. Notable examples include sell-offs across the board in soft commodities as well as iron ore.

While weakening commodity prices are good news for inflation easing, we must remember most of the inflation to date has come from food, energy and other core goods. Services inflation has yet to filter through. How wages evolve will be also key.

There are headlines around the world about wages chasing inflation — with step ups of 4-6% under consideration.

Some companies such as Qantas and Nine are offering tactical cash bonuses to stave off a permanent wage increase. This will not be the norm as wage pressures increase by the week.

Bonds

Bond yields fell as market pessimism drove the market last week. US and Australia 10-years fell 23bps and 12bps respectively.

The US 30-year mortgage rate has also retraced back to 5.61%.

This week’s RBA announcement should be largely uneventful. A 50bps increase is expected to bring the cash rate up to 135bps.

Australian Markets

The markets are becoming quite narrow considering the broad themes discussed above.

Last week the markets performed better than expected as recession fears grew and bond yields retraced.

Utilities (2.6%), Consumer Staples (0.68%) and Financials (0.36%) saw gains throughout the week. In contrast, Resources (-1.58%), Tech (-2.35%) and REITS (-1.8%) fell.

Stocks

Resources suffered another rough week. Evolution (EVN, -29.59%), Northern Star (NST, -14.77%) and Newcrest (NCM, -12.02%) were the biggest detractors.

Evolution saw downgrades largely based on increased costs. Costs for gold miners have historically been highly correlated to oil, with knock-on effects from the squeeze on diesel refining. On top of that the labour disruption impacting many industrial companies is now affecting Evolution.

Companies deemed less sensitive to economic weaknesses such as Computershare (CPU, +5.07%) continued to eke out gains. Some non-REIT bond sensitives such as Transurban (TCL, +3.74%) and APA (APA, 3.30%) also saw positive performance.

Elsewhere we saw Metcash (MTS, +2.42%) report well ahead of the market at all levels including EBIT at $472m and NPAT at $300m. With strong sales momentum Metcash continues to grow revenue at the fastest clip in all segments versus peers. It remains a key position for many of our portfolios.


About Crispin Murray and Pendal Focus Australian Share Fund

Crispin Murray is Pendal’s Head of Equities. He has more than 27 years of investment experience and leads one of the largest equities teams in Australia. Crispin’s Pendal Focus Australian Share Fund has beaten the benchmark in 12 years of its 16-year history (after fees), across a range of market conditions.

Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management. 

Find out more about Pendal Focus Australian Share Fund  

Contact a Pendal key account manager

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Miners are investing billions to achieve net zero carbon emissions, creating new opportunities across the supply chain for sustainable investors, says Pendal’s ELISE MCKAY

AUSTRALIA'S mining industry is investing billions as part of a push to achieve net zero carbon emissions, creating new opportunities across the mining supply chain for sustainable investors, says Pendal’s Elise McKay.

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group has committed to net zero operational emissions by 2030.

BHP is seeking a 30 per cent reduction in operational emissions by 2030 and Rio is targeting a 15 per cent reduction by 2025 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.

“We visited 15 different companies across the mining supply chain in Perth last week and one of the key standouts was the extent to which there's a huge focus on getting to zero emissions,” says McKay, an investment analyst in Pendal’s Australian equities team.

“About 40 to 50 per cent of mining company emissions are from diesel in mobile equipment so it's a big problem that needs to be solved -- and solved quickly.”

It’s perhaps not surprising that mining companies are at the forefront of sustainability planning.

“It’s a broad generalisation, but companies that tend to be the most forward thinking in terms of ESG are typically the ones that have the biggest problems to solve,” says McKay.

Pendal equities analyst Elise McKay
Pendal equities analyst Elise McKay

“The miners are right up there. They have big problems that need to be solved and that’s a threat to their ability to continue to operate unless they can address these issues.”

Reducing haulage emissions

Haulage emissions -- pollution from big mining trucks -- is one area miners are focused on.

Solutions are focused on two broad directions and it's unclear which will be more effective, says McKay.

Majors like BHP, Rio and Newmont have announced partnerships with NYSE-listed Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, which is distributed locally by Westrac, owned by ASX-listed Seven Group.

Caterpillar is trialling zero-emission trucks on mine sites by 2024 and intends to have them for sale by 2027.

But Fortescue's 2030 net zero commitment suggests that time frame is too slow.

Instead, it recently announced the acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering, a battery systems developer with its roots in the revered F1 racing team.

“They're working together on the power units that will go into a truck,” says McKay, and intend to retrofit existing trucks to get to zero emissions vehicles earlier.

There are some important problems to be solved – basic functions like cooling systems and weight distribution are different for battery powered trucks and need to be designed around.

“And these are regions that are typically not liked by electric vehicles – the Pilbara is hot, it’s dusty and there’s a lot of rain. The technology needs to cope with these types of conditions.”

The construction of the truck itself also has to meet zero emissions requirements so companies are now exploring green steel solutions such as those made with renewable energy.

And even fundamental operational issues need to be addressed – diesel trucks can be refuelled in less than 20 minutes and may only need refuelling once a day, but batteries only last one to three hours.

“How can you recharge 10 times a day without having massive hits to productivity?” says McKay. One near-term solution to reducing emissions is more autonomous vehicles, which use less energy to run and can be run more productively. 

Where to look for opportunities

So how can investors assess the opportunity of mining net zero?

“What's really interesting is how it all flows through the supply chain,” says McKay.

“Seven’s Westrac, for example, owns the Caterpillar dealership in WA and has the leading market share in the west for mining equipment and autonomous vehicles.

“But is there a threat there? How does it change their relationships with customers?

"Do those customer relationships become stickier because they're working on whole of mine-site solutions? Is there an opportunity to extend their product strategy?”


About Elise McKay and Pendal Australian share funds

Elise is an investment analyst with Pendal’s Australian equities team. Elise previously worked as an investment analyst for US fund manager Cartica where she covered a variety of emerging market companies.

She has also worked in investment banking and corporate finance at JP Morgan and Ernst & Young.

Pendal Horizon Sustainable Australian Share Fund is a concentrated portfolio aligned with the transition to a more sustainable, future economy.

Pendal Focus Australian Share Fund is a high-conviction equity fund with a 16-year track record of strong performance in a range of market conditions. The Fund is rated at the highest level by Lonsec, Morningstar and Zenith.

Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management. 

Contact a Pendal key account manager here

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When looking for good companies to invest in, remember that the medium term is an aggregation of many short terms, says Pendal’s PAUL WILD. Here are some tips for finding good companies right now

  • Think medium term, buy sustainable themes
  • Look for opportunities in healthcare, finance, tech
  • Drip feed or average into the market

THE first tip for equity investors right now is “buy good companies”.

Sound obvious?

“It’s an obvious thing to say until you try and work out what a good company is,” says Pendal senior fund manager Paul Wild.

So what’s a good company?

“A good company needs a moat around it – a moat that provides it with a defensible market share and pricing power," says Wild, who runs European equities at Pendal’s UK asset manager J O Hambro.

“That’s most clearly illustrated in financial metrics by the return a company makes on equity, or on capital employed over a reasonable period of time.

“When you’re investing for the medium term, remember that the medium term is an aggregation of many short terms. And in the short term, prices can be distorted from fundamentals, affected by the positioning of funds.

“So, it’s a good idea to drip feed or average into the market, knowing that you’re very unlikely to ever pick the absolute low.”

Look for sustainable themes and trends “which are irrefutable”, says Wild.

“The whole area of energy efficiency is one and there’s a myriad of ways to play this.

"It might be via renewables and investing in semi-conductor capital expenditure plays, or it might be within the industrials sector.

“Digitalisation is another irrefutable trend,” Wild says.

Time for equities?

With that in mind, is it time to start putting money into equities?

“The more markets fall, the more optimistic we should be getting,” Wild says, with just a hint of irony.

“But managers do need to fight the behavioural instinct to get more bearish as the market falls.”

“It’s important to be cognisant of the impact of the current sea change.

"We have the dawn of serious inflation for the first time since the 1980s and rates in Europe and elsewhere are going to be rising significantly over the next year. The market needs to price this in and the effect on growth and earnings.”

How inflation and interest rate increases impact consumption, investment and credit risk, are key considerations for investors, Wild says.

Sectors that look promising

 “Which companies have pricing power and can maintain profit margins? Which companies can maintain their return on equity?” Wild asks.

Healthcare and pharmaceutical stocks have been a “port in the storm”.

Financials have been a little more mixed, and their outlook remains that way.

While rising interest rates help many lenders improve their net interest margins, fears of a surge in non-performing loans as rates rise have partially overwhelmed the good news.

“Our view on banks is that the need to provision for bad loans will increase, but it’s coming off very low levels and thus we will see some normalisation,” Wild says.

Insurance companies look relatively attractive.

“Most large European insurance companies are undertaking share buy-backs and dividend yields tend to be north of 6 per cent.

"While they do have a lot of credit exposure in their portfolios, it tends to be high grade. It’s also a sector which has pretty good pricing power and solvency,” Wild says.

Some technology stocks present an opportunity, though they need to have strong balance sheets and be profitable.

Companies that facilitate the digitalisation process for corporates are examples of strong tech opportunities.

And there’s also opportunities in the semi-conductor sector — though Wild prefers companies that benefit from the lithography capital investment by semi-conductor companies, rather than the companies themselves.

“Clearly it is time to avoid companies that are excessively speculative, or have weak balance sheets, or will have difficulties accessing finance at reasonable rates,” Wild says.

“Investors need to look through the crisis or dislocation as best they can and know that there is always the other side, patience tends to be rewarded.”


About Paul Wild and Pendal global equities strategies

Paul Wild is senior fund manager with J O Hambro Capital Management, a London-based active investment manager which is part of Pendal Group.

Paul manages J O Hambro's Continental European fund.

Pendal offers a range of global equities strategies to Australian investors including:

Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management.

Contact a Pendal key account manager here

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Chinese market and economic data has shown improvement, but investors need to see more evidence of a fully-fledged recovery, says Pendal’s JAMES SYME

IS IT time to think about investing in China again?

The world’s second-biggest economy remains in the strictures of Covid, while much of the rest of the world emerges and battles with high inflation and interest rates.

But in recent weeks there have been signs that things might be turning economically, says James Syme, co-manager of Pendal Global Emerging Markets Opportunities fund.

“China’s had a very difficult run in terms of economic data and market performance. That’s been driven by both Covid and tight lending policies, particularly towards residential mortgages.

“There’s no sense that the economy is in crisis, but it is unusual to have this deep a slow-down.

"To the end of April there was a real sense of doom and gloom around the Chinese economy and assets.

"But what we saw in the May data was clear evidence that some parts of the Chinese economy are doing better,” Syme says.

As is typical in turning points, there is no irrefutable evidence that the Chinese economy has bottomed, Syme says, but the next few months of macro-economic data will be worth watching. 

“The M2 money supply number we track was up 11 per cent in the month of May. New loans were reasonably strong. The annual rate of growth in the credit system has picked up to 9.1 per cent.

"We are not yet at a full-throttle, credit-driven recovery, but certainly there’s been a turn in those numbers,” Syme says.

“There’s been a turn in some of the economic numbers also. Industrial production has gone positive, having been negative. Fixed asset investment is picking up.

Watch consumer demand

“But -- and it’s a big but -- the overlapping combination of residential property and the consumer remains phenomenally weak,” he warns.

The improvement in the past six weeks in the Chinese economy is largely thanks to a surging trade balance (whereby imports have fallen and exports have remained strong) and government spending.

“China is still in Covid and one of the things we saw around the world was that governments ramped up fiscal spending to support economies during the pandemic. In the second half of 2022 we might see China do that.”

What it means for investors

What are the implications for financial markets?

“There’s been a more positive tone to Chinese equities in the past couple of months,” Syme says, highlighting that most major bourses and many asset classes from bonds to cryptos have been sold off in that period.

“China’s equity market is up. Not a lot, but it’s up. There’s more positive news around the tech sector and some property-related assets.”

Commodity prices, which affect the Chinese economy, remain an unknown.

“There’s been a lot of concern that commodity prices are generally very high at a time when the Chinese economy is weak and questions about whether they can be sustained,” Syme says.

“But another way of looking at it is commodity prices are where they are, even though the Chinese economy is weak. If demand-supply remains tight and you get a Chinese recovery, then prices could move even higher.”

Time to invest?

So, is it time to invest more heavily in China?

“I think we need to see more evidence of a fully-fledged recovery. But we are starting to see some evidence of change.

"Six weeks ago, if you looked at the Chinese economic data, you’d say there’s nothing to do here,” Syme says.

“We are not at the point where you look at the data and say you need to be overweight China, with a highly cyclical portfolio.

"But the things you want to see are starting to emerge, and that’s a shift.”


About James Syme and Pendal Global Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund

James Syme is a senior portfolio manager of Pendal’s Global Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund with Paul Wimborne.

The fund aims to add value through a combination of country allocation and individual stock selection.

The country allocation process is based on analysis of a country’s economic growth, monetary policy, market liquidity, currency, governance/politics and equity market valuation.

The stock selection process focuses on buying quality growth stocks at attractive valuations.

Find out more about Pendal Global Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund here
 
Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management.

Contact a Pendal key account manager here

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Engaging with investees is at the core of ESG. But the issues are now so complex that we need another approach. Regnan’s ALISON EWINGS explains

COLLABORATION and co-ordination among all parts of society are needed if sustainability goals are to be achieved, says Alison Ewings.

Company-specific engagement remains important for driving direct outcomes. But many aspects of meaningful change can only come when businesses, not-for-profits, researchers and governments share information and co-ordinate action.

That’s the approach Regnan’s head of engagement Alison Ewings is increasingly taking.

Sustainable investing leader Regnan last month hosted its first Director Roundtable on Sustainable Agriculture, bringing together senior executives and directors to identify barriers to sustainable agricultural and food production.

“There’s still a role for company-specific engagement, but the complexity of many of the ESG issues we’re facing means there are a host of instances where this approach is limited,” says Ewings.

Part of the problem is that individual companies are constrained in the sustainability outcomes they can achieve acting alone, she says.

Case study: agriculture

Agriculture is a case in point, with complex sustainability issues across the value chain including climate change, soil health, pollution, water scarcity, food waste and biodiversity and eco-system loss.

Growers can be limited in what they can do because they need to meet the specifications of supermarkets and food manufacturers.

There is evidence they are struggling to invest in sustainability because lenders and investors may not ascribe a value to improvements, says Ewings.

“You can go to a lot of effort to improve your soil health, but if that doesn’t show up in the value of your asset then you might question the investment,” she says.

Sustainability is further complicated by the many small companies operating in agriculture.

By their nature, many small companies also have lower capacity to invest in sustainability and may not benefit from the same technology and advice that scale allows larger companies enjoy.

“And of course, not all of these entities exist in the listed space, so engagement sometimes means going beyond your investment universe, for instance engaging with private companies or industry associations representing these smaller groups,” says Ewings.

The waste industry is another example, requiring partnership across industry, regulators and academia to understand the full lifecycle impacts of the waste cycle.

Laws, regulations and practices differ from state to state and even between local councils, says Ewings.

“A system-wide approach is going to be required in order to change complex value chains,  that stretch across our entire economic and social system. For instance energy, finance and manufacturing.”

What needs to change

So, what are the barriers stopping Australia taking such an approach?

For starters, different levels of government are posing a challenge.

“There can be a need to harmonise state and local legislation where it creates inefficiencies or barriers to scale for solutions. The recycling space, for instance, comes up quite a lot.”

But business also needs forums away from the competition of business-as-usual where executives and directors can reflect and collaborate with suppliers and customers.

“A good example is the steel sector and ResponsibleSteel, an association across the supply chain that acknowledges the R&D challenge for low carbon steel are significant and therefore difficult for any single company to be able to invest enough to bring the change that is needed.

“Many of these challenges are multidisciplinary and so require a multi-stakeholder response, within and across sectors, as well as from consumers, governments and the right scientific minds.

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What does the RBA’s latest interest rate hike mean for investors? Pendal assistant portfolio manager ANNA HONG explains

TODAY’S RBA rate hike of 50 basis points is no surprise – it’s coming off a low base.

The delay in lifting rates at the start of the year means we have a lot of ground to cover, just get back to neutral.

This month’s hike – which takes Australia’s official cash rate to 1.35 per cent -- is about tackling actual inflation.

Further hikes in coming months will be about tackling inflation expectations which are just as important to get under control.

This time last year we might have thought inflation was something that happened to others, but not here in Australia.

It’s now apparent that we are not different – just delayed. The delay has some upside though, since other developed economies can provide some guidance of what’s in store:

New ZealandUSCanadaUKAustralia
Policy rates2%1.75%1.5%1.25%1.35%
How high can this go?

Guidance aside, what everyone wants to know is: “How high can this go?

Australians have more say in the answer than we may realise.

While tackling inflation is now the number one priority, the RBA has no desire to send us into recession just for the sake of it.

That’s why the central bank is doing this delicate dance of 0.5% hike-and-see instead of breaking the economy with a one-off 2%-3% sledgehammer hit.

The Reserve Bank is trying for a soft landing. To achieve that, a few things need to dovetail for demand and supply to reach stable prices:

  • A pick-up in the global supply chain: This inflation cycle is supply induced. The faster the supply chain issues ease, the more the inflationary pressures will ease.
  • Evolution of household spending: Consumption growth is dragging prices higher while supply bottlenecks make it hard to keep up. Australian households can slow rate hikes by reducing consumption. That would allow time for supply to catch up without the RBA hiking rates by an ever-increasing amount. Recent NAB data shows we are already starting to adapt and evolve.
  • Prevent a wage-price spiral: If workers are fully compensated for the increased cost of living, no personal consumption belt-tightening will be required. A merry-go-round of ever-increasing money chasing limited goods and services will lead to sustained higher inflation requiring more hikes. Counterintuitively, accepting a real wage cut will lead to long-term gains for the greater good.

No pain, no gain. It is unpleasant to cut consumption, and no one wants a cut in real wages.

But a protracted rate hike cycle will send the Australian economy into a recession, which is no good for anyone. We have a say in how high RBA’s Cash Rate Target will be. It’s time to exercise that power.


About Anna Hong and Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest team

Anna Hong is an assistant portfolio manager with Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest team.

Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest boutique is one of the most experienced and well-regarded fixed income teams in Australia. In 2020 the team won the Australian Fixed Interest category in the Zenith awards.

With the goal of building the most defensive line of funds in Australia, the team oversees A$22 billion invested across income, composite, pure alpha, global and Australian government strategies.

Find out more about Pendal’s fixed interest strategies here


About Pendal Group

Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management.

Contact a Pendal key account manager

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