Important information 

As of 9th October, Waystone will be the fund ACD and any reference to Link or LF should be taken as WS or Waystone.

WS Canlife Portfolio VI Fund

Q3 2023 WS Canlife Portfolio VI Fund

Fund update

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WS Canlife Portfolio III-VII Funds

Q3 2023

Market Overview

Markets generally started the third quarter in a strong position, as the consumption-led recovery continued and inflation started to show signs of slowing. But the latter half of the quarter was dominated by a massive bond sell-off. Yields on US Treasuries and long-dated government debt around the world rose to multi-year highs.

The sell-off came as core inflation failed to fall in line with headline inflation. Core inflation has been driven by wage growth and tight labour markets, keeping upward pressure on inflation. Furthermore, commodity prices had shown signs of bottoming out at the start of the quarter, but started to rise later in Q3. Oil prices, which had been trading at around $70-80 per barrel, rose to more than $90, fuelling concerns over a resurgence in headline inflation. As such, the timeline for rate cuts was extended, with central banks showing few signs of lowering interest rates imminently.

Against an unhelpful higher yield backdrop, equities have experienced weak performance, with the US market suffering its worst month of the year so far in September. Other major indices in Europe and Japan were also negative. Higher oil prices were good for the UK, with the region up during the third quarter.

Fund activity

During Q3, the fund delivered a positive return and outperformed the benchmark.

Our equity exposures – which represent around 75% of the strategy – contributed positively overall to absolute performance, with gains coming from our allocations to Japan, the US, UK and emerging markets. However, our Europe ex-UK exposure detracted.

Some bond holdings declined following the sell-off in bond markets. There was mixed performance from our corporate bond holdings, with UK debt holding up better than our international holdings.

The fund’s cash holdings were a positive contributor as interest rates remained at elevated levels.

The fund’s property exposure detracted from performance during the quarter. The UK property market declined during the period, and investor sentiment remains weak.

Outlook

While central banks are unlikely to raise interest rates as quickly as before, more upward pressure on inflation, particularly with oil prices so high in Q3, means higher interest rates could be here for some time. These higher rates have taken longer to feed through to consumers, with both the labour market and consumption remaining strong. But we believe that rate hikes will eventually result in slower growth.

Corporate spreads may start to come under some pressure in the coming quarters as companies struggle to pass on higher costs to the consumer and demand for goods and services slows down. We have already started to see signs that consumer demand is falling in the US, amid reduced credit availability and exhausted pandemic-era savings.

For now, we believe that equity markets remain at the mercy of bond markets as, higher yields offer more attractive and less risky investment opportunities.

Although central banks remain confident that their economies will achieve a soft landing as inflation moves back to target levels within the coming years, it seems likely that the probability of success is declining. And heading towards 2024, economic growth is likely to moderate somewhat after the post-Covid bounce we have seen over the past two years.

 

Important Information

The value of investments may fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the amount invested.

The views expressed in this document are those of the fund manager at the time of publication and should not be taken as advice, a forecast or a recommendation to buy or sell securities. These views are subject to change at any time without notice.

The WS Canlife Portfolio Funds may invest in property funds that may be illiquid and subject to wide price spreads, both of which can impact the value of the funds. The value of the property is based on the opinion of a valuer and is therefore subjective.

This document is issued for information only by Canada Life Asset Management. This document does not constitute a direct offer to anyone, or a solicitation by anyone, to subscribe for shares or buy units in fund(s). Subscription for shares and buying units in the fund(s) must only be made on the basis of the latest Prospectus and the Key Investor Information Document (KIID) available in the literature section.

Promotion approved 23/10/23