In January, Emirates NBD, one of the leading banks in the region, released its global investment outlook for 2019.
Themed, “Preparing for the Next Decade”, the 2019 outlook was revealed to media by Maurice Gravier, Chief Investment Officer, Emirates NBD Group.
Speaking at the media briefing, Gravier commented that, “2019 starts with markets overshooting fundamentals. There are late cycle forces at play, slowing economic and earnings growth, but we don’t forecast a recession in the US nor a hard-landing in China.
“The decade ahead looks set to be more challenging for investors than the previous one, highlighting the need for discipline in portfolio construction, risk allocation, as well as selectivity of securities and products. Accordingly, Emirates NBD Wealth Management has reinforced its investment process around three key pillars to safely navigate what should be a turbulent decade for investors: a robust strategic portfolio construction, a framework to dynamically allocate capital when opportunities arise, and more than ever, selecting the right securities after years of passive investment hegemony,” Gravier added.
On last year, it was highlighted how 2018 marked the transition to a new regime of lower expected returns and higher risks, with less economic growth and richer valuations. Gravier estimated that volatility will continue to be elevated, with less liquidity and ever rising political uncertainty. Record levels of global debt are a common denominator, capping growth and heightening investment risk. He further claimed that there is also good news - secular positive trends are still at play, valuation opportunities have appeared and cash is back as a yielding asset. He concluded by reiterating that definitely, the future is not what it used to be, but history has proven that turbulent markets generate the best investment opportunities”
Highlights of the Emirates NBD 2019 Investment Outlook:
Asset Allocation and Portfolio Construction
Gradually taking profits on developed market (DM) Government bonds to reinforce cash and equity
Emerging Market (EM) Debt and global equities our preferred sources of return, gold and cash the best defensive assets
We will tactically adjust exposure based on valuation discipline
DM: neutral US, slightly underweight Europe vs slightly overweight Japan
EM: we favour Asia, with no specific country bias, positive on KSA with MSCI EM inclusion a catalyst
Sectors: technology our preferred growth sector, we play materials and GCC banks for dividends, and favour Healthcare as our preferred defensive sector.
Favour Corporate Credit and EM debt over DM Government bonds
Overweight the US within DM Government bonds, and favour Investment Grade over High Yield in credit
GCC bonds offer value across select Sovereigns and Credit (Utilities, Energy and Financials including hybrids)
Oil prices to fluctuate against weakening outlook for global economy
We expect Brent futures to average USD 65/b in 2019 with significant volatility
Late cycle concerns: low property yields, slower growth and rising rates
Demand still robust for prime assets over the long-term, 2019 focus on defensive sectors
The annual Emirates NBD CIO Outlook is an advisory blueprint covering investment opportunities and key global economic indicators and in-depth financial market insights, based on which Emirates NBD’s team of advisors, traders and analysts make recommendations on financial transactions and investments to the bank’s qualified clients.