Perspective

Investing in Asia and the impact of coronavirus: webinar


Asian equities relatively attractive 

Asian companies and governments have a big advantage compared to those in the West: they came into the coronavirus crisis with much lower levels of debt. This puts them in a stronger position to navigate today's challenging environment. 

Following a significant bounce, Asian stock markets now look "mildly cheap".

"The world is changing"

The pandemic is accelerating many long-standing trends, including a shift away from globalisation and increased investment in technology. 

Robin also thinks the crisis will see governments playing a much greater role in business around the world. This can be a risk for investors, as China's experience shows. 

Despite incredible growth in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, the country's stock market performed poorly. The disconnect is explained by the fact that many big listed companies were controlled by the government and forced to focus on the "maximisation of employment and investment" at the expense of shareholder returns.

Asian stock markets today look very different. However, as Western states play an increasingly large role in their economies, companies may find it hard to balance the competing demands of governments and shareholders.  

Economic outlook and key investment themes 

Chinese activity is picking up, with some sectors rebounding faster than others. While construction and manufacturing have largely recovered, consumer demand remains weak.

Robin expects to see a similar path of recovery in Europe and the US. This suggests that expectations of a "V-shaped" recovery look too optimistic, which could give rise to renewed market volatility.  

Despite near-term headwinds, Robin sees a lot of opportunities in Asian markets. Key themes he is looking at include Chinese consumption, battery technology and healthcare technology. 

If you were unable to join this live webinar but would have liked to listen in and pose your own questions, more will be held in coming weeks. Please look out for invitations from your usual contact.

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