Markets rebounded in June after a period of volatility and uncertainty following the debt ceiling crisis in May. The fund performed well, with a 3.4% increase for the month. However, it lagged the MSCI World Index, which was up 6.1% during the same period. The best performers in the fund were Edward's Lifescience, Marubeni, and Straumann Holding. These companies saw significant growth and contributed to the overall positive performance of the fund. On the other hand, Alphabet, Crowdstrike, and Takeda Pharmaceutical were the worst performers, experiencing a decline in their stock prices.
In terms of market indices, growth outperformed value, with MSCI Growth up 6.1% and MSCI Value up 6.02% in June. This trend continued throughout the year, with MSCI World Growth up approximately 27% and MSCI World Value up only 4% for the year so far. Analysing sector performance, the consumer discretionary sector was the best performer, with a significant increase of 10.5%. The industrials sector also performed well, with an 8.95% increase. On the other hand, the utilities sector and communication services sector were the worst performers, with gains of only 2.59% and 2.74% respectively.
In the United States, the Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates unchanged for the first time in 15 months. This decision was influenced by the easing of inflationary pressures. Although U.S. inflation has decreased from its peak of 9% in June of the previous year to 4% in May, it remains higher than the Fed's target of 2%. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, also remains stubbornly high at 5.3%. The Fed also revised its unemployment projections, lowering them to 4.1% from the previous estimate of 4.5%. This indicates the strength of the U.S. job market, with the current unemployment rate at 3.7%, lower than what the Fed had anticipated.
In Europe, the economy entered a mild technical recession in the first quarter of the year, with a contraction of 0.1%. This has put pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to hold off on further tightening measures. Inflation in the Euro area for June decreased to 5.5% from 6.1% in May, reaching its lowest level since January 2022. However, it still remains above the ECB's target of 2%. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, increased to 5.4% in June. Contrary to the Federal Reserve's decision, the ECB raised interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.5% in June. This move was expected by the market, as the ECB anticipates inflation to be at 5.4% for the year. The ECB also revised down its GDP growth projections for this year and 2024. They now expect a growth rate of 0.9% for this year and 1.6% for 2024.ECB President Christine Lagarde expressed satisfaction with the inflation outlook. In the United Kingdom, the Bank of England (BoE) raised interest rates by 50 basis points to 5% as they struggle to bring down inflation. The market expected a 25 basis points hike.
In China, inflation remained relatively flat in May, with only a 0.2% increase compared to the previous year. In April, inflation reached a two-year low of 0.1%. The producer price index in China fell by 4.6%, marking its largest decline since May 2016 when it declined by 7.2%. This low inflation in China contrasts with the U.S. and Euro area, where efforts are being made to combat inflation. Some market participants have started discussing the possibility of deflation risks, although it may still be too early to draw any definitive conclusions.
The economic landscape remains similar with as last month with Europe and UK hiking rates but this time the Fed has paused their hiking cycle signalling end of its tightening cycle. Europe has entered a mild technical recession and China is still facing deflation risk. We’ll continue to monitor the macroeconomic environment.