In April, the fund underperformed the MSCI World Index, with a gain of only 0.9% compared to the index's 1.8% increase. One notable trend within the MSCI World Index was the outperformance of value stocks over growth stocks. While the MSCI World Growth index was up 1.6%, value stocks were up 2%. This suggests that investors may have been favouring more established, stable companies over those with higher growth potential.
Currency fluctuations also played a role in the fund's performance. The South African rand was one of the worst-performing currencies in April, weakening by 2.7%. This was in line with other emerging market currencies such as the Argentine peso and South Korean won, which also saw significant depreciation of 6.1% and 2.7% respectively. However, other major emerging market currencies such as the Indonesian rupiah, Brazilian real, Indian rupee, and Mexican peso saw strength during the month.
Finally, concerns around the banking sector in the US remerged at the end of the month following the collapse of First Republic Bank. This led to more than $100 billion in deposits being withdrawn over a course of weeks as investors panicked over the financial soundness of regional banks. Regulators ultimately shut down the bank on May 1st and sold its assets to JPMorgan.
Overall, the fund's underperformance in April can be attributed to a combination of factors, including sector performance, currency fluctuations, and concerns around the banking sector. While these factors may have had a negative impact on the fund's performance in the short term, it's important to remember that investing is a long-term game, and fluctuations in the market are to be expected.