Fund Return 2021-2022

Fund return to 30th April 2022

Fund

Performance

 

1 month

Scheme Year to Date

1 Year

 

 

 

CERS Multi Asset Fund

-1.9%

3.5%

3.8 %

CERS Bond Fund

-7.5%

-15.6%

-15.9%

CERS Cash Fund

-0.1%

-1.0%

-1.1%

CERS Equity Fund

-4.6%

1.8%

2.0%

CERS Property Fund

0.0%

6.2%

6.6%

CERS Alternative Asset Fund

0.0%

7.3%

8.0%


Investment Commentary

Provided by Mercer - CERS Investment Adviser

Market Developments

Global equity markets had their worst month since March 2020. The perfect storm of central bank tightening, economic growth momentum fading and the earnings outlook becoming more challenged contributed to overall risk-off sentiment.

Bonds lost ground during the month as rising inflation and monetary tightening had an equally negative impact on fixed income. Credit spreads also widened for investment grade and high yield corporate debt. Gold did not do well either given its sensitivity to real yields.

The only asset class that performed moderately well was commodities. However, the commodity rally stalled towards the end of the month because of US dollar strength and concerns that fading economic momentum will ultimately take a toll on commodity demand.

Inflation and monetary tightening aside, the global economy was still holding up reasonably well given the circumstances. Negative US GDP growth in 2022Q1 was primarily driven by a negative trade balance. Consumers remained resilient as labour markets across the developed world remained very tight. Unemployment is now close to pre-2020 levels in both the US and UK. Forward-looking purchasing manager indices softened but remained well in expansion territory for major regions with the exception of China.

In spite of these silver linings, overall news flow was negative, which drove investor sentiment. The conflict in Ukraine continued as Russian forces focused their efforts on south eastern Ukraine. Lockdowns have closed down many parts of China’s economy, which has led to a downward revision in growth projections. This will likely lead to a continuation of supply chain stress. Corporate earnings are beginning to converge into single digit territory after last year’s massive rebound. A number of large US tech companies published disappointing results for Q1.

Markets would normally look at policy support to ease the pain. This time though, sky high inflation is leaving central banks little choice but to maintain their plans to continue tightening. Therefore, investors had little reason to remain optimistic, which was reflected in price action during the month.

Outlook

Global economic growth was strong at the end of 2021, but there were signs of slower growth at the start of 2022 as higher inflation started to eat into household incomes. This was especially the case in Europe, which relies much more on energy imports than the US, in particular large imports of Russian natural gas, whose price has skyrocketed. Despite this, the global economy has remained resilient in part because Europe and some other regions are benefiting from a gradual recovery in tourism and other sectors affected by the COVID pandemic, and labour markets are exceptionally strong. China remained a key outlier globally with its economy remaining under pressure from COVID-related lockdowns as its government continues with its zero (‘dynamic clearing’) COVID policy.

We expect the global economy to remain resilient, despite the surge in commodity prices and higher bond yields. These are likely to turn what would have been a great year in terms of global GDP growth into merely a decent year. However, the crisis in Ukraine is not over and with the timing and scope of an eventual end to the conflict unclear, there remain significant risks to global GDP. As we peer into 2023 and 2024, the risks of a hard landing or recession in the US have grown with the Federal Reserve set to raise interest sharply this year and into next.

Inflation has risen sharply in recent quarters and is now approaching 10% in the US and UK and is at very elevated levels almost everywhere with the notable exceptions of Japan and China. Much of the inflation increase, such as the jump in used car prices and some energy prices, is likely transitory and will unwind, although the timing of that unwind is unclear. However, higher labour costs on the back of very low unemployment and strong labour demand are likely to persist and these should continue to put upward pressure on inflation for some time. Again, the US stands out as having the tightest labour market and thus the highest inflation risk.

We expect monetary policy to be tightened almost everywhere with the key exceptions of China and Japan. The Fed has said it wants to get its policy rate to neutral, which it estimates at 2.4%. More hawkish comments from committee members suggest a series of 0.5% increases. To tame inflation the Fed might have to increase interest rates higher than the neutral rate and the higher it goes, the greater the risk of a subsequent US recession. Other central banks are not perceived to be as far behind the curve as the US and can proceed more cautiously. We expect the Bank of England to continue to hike interest rates, but stop sooner than the Fed and be more responsive to any signs of material economic weakness caused by higher inflation and tighter fiscal policy. The ECB is set to embark on an interest rate hiking cycle before year-end, although is likely to move cautiously. In addition to increasing interest rates, central banks are set to tighten monetary policy by reducing the size of balance sheets: so-called quantitative tightening. Interest rates in Japan are set to remain on hold, while China is likely to loosen monetary policy to offset the hit to growth from the COVID lockdowns.

Notes

Scheme Year to date performance is the period from 1 June 2021 to the most recent month shown.

1 Year performance is the cumulative performance of the last 12 months to the most recent month shown.

Multi Asset Fund performance assumes no lifestyling.

Performance shown is net of annual management charge.

The investment choices offered by the Trustee will be regularly reviewed and may be varied from time to time.

Before you choose a fund we recommend that you speak to a financial adviser. The CERS Trustee preferred financial adviser is Milestone Advisory DAC. You can contact them or your own financial adviser to assist you to review your investment choices. You can contact Milestone Advisory DAC via the website www.milestoneadvisory.ie, by post: Linden House, 4 Clonskeagh Square, Clonskeagh Road, Dublin 14, D14 FH90, by email info@milestoneadvisory.ie or by phone (01) 4068020. Milestone Advisory DAC t/a Milestone Advisory is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

If you require further information please contact the CERS Team at info@cers.ie

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