House View – September 2022

House View

House View

September 2022

5 minutes reading time

 

Credit Markets

In September, year-on-year inflation have risen to around 19%. The normal inflation data released by the KSH will already include the change in the rationing in September, but the HICP data already showed the impact of the measure in August. Inflation could rise further in the last quarter, peaking in early 2023. In September, after a one-off 125 basis point rate hike, the central bank, to the surprise of the market, announced that it would end the cycle of rate hikes, leaving the policy rate at 13% from September. At the press conference following the meeting, the importance of the liquidity tightening measures that had already been introduced was stressed. In addition to the increase in the reserve requirement ratio, the central bank will hold regular auctions of discount bonds and a long-term deposit facility will be introduced from October. Details will be available in early October, but all are aimed at tightening interbank liquidity. The base rate is no longer planned to be raised, but the liquidity tightening measures could raise the effective interest rate within the policy band. In addition to the 3-month and 12-month auctions, the central bank has also introduced a 6-month Treasury bill auction, helping to bring short yields in line with the base rate. The average yield on the 3-month Treasury bill auctions thus rose from 9.73% at the beginning of the month to 11.29% by the end of the month. The average yield on the 6 and 12-month auctions, on the other hand, rose to around the base rate. We continue to favor holding shorter-dated paper in the fund until inflation peaks, but we have started to open up to longer-dated paper as the tightening cycle comes to an end.

 

Within Asset Classes Underweight Slight Underweight Neutral Slight Overweight Overweight
Bonds
Within Bonds
United States
Europe
Emerging Markets
HGB

 

 

Equity Markets

In September, inflation and other macro data prompted the US Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark interest rate by a further 75 basis points to 3.25%, and policy makers forecast further increases of 75-50-25 basis points. Rising US interest rates, which only further strengthen the dollar in the currency markets, have become a source of serious problems in the international financial markets. Japan’s finance ministry has intervened in the foreign exchange market for the first time in 24 years, and the UK central bank will be forced to buy bonds at L5bn a day for 13 days, while postponing its QT program, which was due to start in October and would have involved selling L80bn of assets. The big question for the period ahead is when the US Federal Reserve will stop raising interest rates, but this is unlikely to happen until macro data starts to weaken.

The higher than expected inflation data in Europe, which in some center states such as the Netherlands showed a horrendous almost annual 14%, left the ECB with no choice but to raise the base rate by 75 basis points and the market expects another 50 basis point increase in October.

Inflation remains a major concern in Hungary. According to the latest MNB Inflation Report, inflation is expected to peak in the 19%-22% range, but it is not ruled out that it will be above 22 percent. The big spike could come as early as September due to the increase in the public utility bill and the summer drought. In September, the central bank raised the base rate further by 125 basis points to 13%. The forint weakened to a new low against the euro when it crossed the 420 level.

The table below shows the Manager’s views on the different asset classes and the weightings within each asset class. Markets have risen a lot since the June lows, which is not uncommon in a bear market. The September jobless number in the US came in higher than expected, leaving room for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further, which in turn creates a greater chance of a recession. We are in for an interesting mouse and cat fight in the period ahead.

Within Asset Classes Underweight Slight Underweight Neutral Slight Overweight Overweight
Equity
Within Equity
Developed Markets
Emerging Markets
Central and Eastern Europe
Brasil
India  
China
Turkey
South-Korea
Taiwan
South-Afrika
Mexico
Indonesia

 

 

Our Funds and Outlook

 

In September, investors were already speculating about how long the US Federal Reserve would raise its benchmark interest rate, and when the moment would come when it would decide that it was high enough to contain inflation but not yet push the economy into recession. Since a lower interest rate environment is a prerequisite for a market turn, investors are trying to interpret any macro-economic data in the direction that would support the view that interest rates are already high enough that it is time for the Fed to stop. You can already see in the global economy that high US interest rates are causing serious problems. In September the British financial system almost collapsed when trading in British government bonds stopped, and the Bank of England had to step in to avoid total chaos. Another negative effect of high US interest rates is the strong dollar. This makes it difficult for emerging markets to repay their dollar-denominated debt. At the moment, it looks as if until the Fed communicates that it will not raise the base rate any further, neither the currency nor the equity markets can breathe a sigh of relief.

The following table shows the outlook for the Aegon Hungary Investment Fund Management Company Limited by Shares (Investment Fund Management) focused funds. The positions refer to the month of September, 2022, and depending on the current data and market developments these investments may change significantly.

Portfolio Summary of last month What could make our forecast wrong
Aegon Moneymaxx Total Return Investment Fund The fund posted a negative return in September. During the month we reduced the exposure of MOL and the Polish bonds. In contrast to these sales, we are preparing for a recession due to the economic conditions shown by the investment clock and therefore bought US 10 and 20 year bonds thru futures contracts. The interest rate risk of the fund was 3 years at the end of the month. On the equity side, we took profits on the remaining Brazilian and part of the Richter exposure and we also sold the commodity exposure. On the FX side, we reduced our long forint positions against the Czech koruna, Polish zloty and euro from 20% to 16%. The biggest risk to the fund could be the fall of the equity markets and the expansion of emerging market bond spreads.
Aegon BondMaxx Absolut Return Bond Investment Fund The ECB raised its policy rate by 75bp and later in the month, the Fed also hiked interest rates at the same magnitude by 75bp for the third consecutive meeting, both central banks sent hawkish messages. The Bank of England and the Norges Bank hiked by 50bp, the Swiss NB by 75bp and the Riskbank by 100bp. Liz Truss succeeded Boris Johnson as UK prime minister and announced a big energy support package that includes a cap on household energy prices over the next two years. The renewed deterioration in Eurozone PMIs is agreeable with an expected recession. The Eurozone inflation recorded a new high of 10% last month. Fragile sentiment and hawkish central banks kept global markets volatile. After hitting fresh highs, the 10Y Bund yield ended the month 57bp higher at 2.11% and the 10Y UST moved by 64bp, at 3.83% at the end of September. EUR-USD touched a low of 0.9536 before recovering to above 0.98. EUR-USD touched a low of 0.9536 before recovering to above 0.98. USD-CNY also eased back after hitting a new high since the 2008 crisis. Major equity indices shed again and hit new 2022 lows. The fund still keeps its Ukrainian and the remaining part of the Russian corporate exposure and waits for improvement in the Ukrainian-Russia war. In addition to the increase in credit spreads, the rise in rates in the mid-curve would be unfavorable for the fund.
Aegon Alfa Absolut Return Equity Investment Fund The Fund achieved a negative return in September. From the Fund’s perspective, asset prices have moved in the wrong direction. We are holding unchanged our 30% forint long positions against the euro, as we believe the forint has weakened a lot and fast, and it is the highest yielding currency in the region. We have slightly increased the duration on the bond position during the month as we believe that here – as with the forint – these interest rates are very good buying opportunities. Core yields are already peaking and this should bring some reassurance to the Hungarian bond market. Natural gas prices also came down in September, which is also helping to bring inflation down. We have not changed our equity position in the fund. We remain negative on this asset class, and if a panic selloff comes, we would like to increase our exposure. We do not currently hold any position in commodities as this asset class does not perform well in a recessionary environment. The fund’s performance would be negatively impacted by a sudden fall in the stock market for which we would not have enough time to prepare.
Aegon Maraton Acitve Mixed Investment Fund The fund posted a negative return in September. The fund’s equity weighting remains unchanged at 14%. The negative performance was largely due to Hungarian bond exposure and the HUF hedging. In September, we gradually increased the fund’s interest rate risk. It is now 2 years in Hungarian bonds and 3 years for the fund as a whole. We have kept Ukrainian bonds unchanged, but this exposure has had no impact on the fund’s returns. On the equities side, we have bought shares in the more defensive companies in the region. Commodity exposure remained unchanged at 1.00% in the fund. Our strategic view is that economies are approaching a recessionary phase, so we have continued to increase bond exposure and within bonds we are mainly positive on the Hungarian market. The excessive strengthening of the forint against regional currencies and the sudden fall of the regional stock market would have an adverse effect on the fund.
Aegon Panoráma Total Return Equity Investment Fund

The NAV of the fund hasn’t changed in September. During the month we traded actively in the gold, silver and the lumber markets. Unfortunately, the first two were stopped out, but we made a profit on the latter. The fund is monitoring market developments and while risk assets are affected by negative factors such as the interest rate hike cycle, we are taking cautious positions in risk assets. At the end of September, the equity weight was below 5% and the commodity weight below 10% in the fund. On the bond side, we are holding unchanged our positions playing the yield curve with an interest rate risk of -1 per year. On the FX side we are waiting for the dollar to turn.

A sudden fall in the stock market would negatively affect the performance of the fund that we would not have enough time to prepare for.
Aegon Central-European Equity Fund The fund posted a negative return in September and underperformed the benchmark index. The underperformance was mainly due to the Romanian exposure, which was underperforming during the month, but other markets fell as well. The region was negatively impacted by the fact that several countries are starting to introduce extra profit taxes and the macro backdrop remains unfavorable for equities. At the country level, we remain overweight Romania and Austria, and after a sell-off in mid-month, we have increased our weight in Poland. On a sector level, the energy sector has been the worst performer, but in addition, sectors that have been performing well, such as utilities and healthcare, have also underperformed. Also, we have reduced the commodity and cyclical sectors, while we have increased the games, telecoms and retail sectors. Overall, the fund is overweight the benchmark index at around 110% due to long positions. The fund’s performance would be negatively affected by a large, sudden fall in the Central European stock market prices, especially in the overweight sectors and regional markets, which would mean a larger drop compared to the benchmark.
Aegon MegaTrend Equity Fund of Funds The fund posted a negative return in September, but outperformed the benchmark index. Due to the negative environment, we did not increase the exposure against the benchmark index during the month. The most important event in the life of the fund was its conversion to a UCITS equity fund in the middle of the month. During the month, we reduced the weight of the commodity-linked sectors and increased the weight of the renewable sectors. In September, the healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors performed well, while the materials sector underperformed. The upside benefit of the fund buying trends could be high in the coming period, so we will use the current favorable pricing levels, which are being formed by corrections, to buy. At the end of the month, the fund’s equity exposure was 93% against the benchmark index. A widespread stock market sell-off would negatively affect this fund.
Aegon Russia Equity Investment Fund The conversion of depositary receipts traded on foreign markets (GDR/ADR) into local market shares continued. The good news is that the Moscow Exchange’s National Settlement Depo (NSD) has extended the fee waiver for conversions until the end of the year, thus extending the deadline for conversions. The Asset Management has also proceeded with the conversion of the depositary receipts in the Fund, so that after Sberbank, the conversion to local market paper has been completed for Magnit, MTS and Phosagro. A total of 4 non-Russian market stocks remain among the Fund’s investments: Magnit, Phosagro, X5 and Yandex. The latter is not a depositary receipt but a Nasdaq-listed stock.

There was also an important event concerning the opening of the market. In line with indications, for friendly non-resident investors, the market opened on 12 September. As previously reported, access to the converted and Russian local market shares will theoretically be available after the opening of the market for foreign investors, on which the Moscow Stock Exchange has published a detailed presentation. Only foreign investors will be able to trade on this platform, and the proceeds from the sale will be placed in a so-called “S-account”. Due to current capital restrictions, there is still no information on whether withdrawals from the so-called S-account will be possible in the future. Although the first days of trading have shown a positive picture, but due to the limited access, this does not give any indication of the market value of Russian equities. According to the presidential decree, only investors from “friendly” countries and majority-owned foreign companies are allowed to trade in these securities, while investors from “non-friendly” countries, including those from Hungary, are expected to be banned both this year and the next. According to a statement by the Moscow Exchange (MOEX), trading for “non-friendly” countries may start after the finalization of strategic companies.

Sanctions remain in force and the net asset value of the Fund’s series cannot be determined. The Asset Management’s access to the Russian equity markets is still not guaranteed and therefore no sales or redemptions of units can be made. Therefore, the conditions for resuming continuous trading are still not met.

The performance of the fund would be negatively affected by a further escalation of US and European sanctions and a sudden devaluation of the ruble.
Aegon IstanBull Equity Investment Fund The fund achieved a positive return in September and outperformed the benchmark index. This outperformance was due to the fact that we were able to take advantage of the high market volatility. The change in the bank’s index weight helped the fund’s performance. It was overweight at the beginning of the month, but we moved it to underweight at the end of the month, before the sell-off. In addition, there were several individual stock and sector selections which also helped the outperformance. Turkish macro risk increased further when the central bank cut the base rate again by 100 basis points from 13% to 12%. The Turkish lira continues to weaken in a controlled way, there are no foreign investors, inflation remains very high, so we think that the macroeconomic risk is increasing month by month. We continue to try to follow a dynamic strategy in stock selection. The fund is at 92% against the benchmark index. The fund would be adversely affected by the sudden depreciation of the Turkish lira and unexpected, economically negative measures by the Turkish president.

 

 

Privátbankár.hu Klasszis awards:

 

in 2021

1st place Fund Manager of the Year: Aegon Magyarország Befektetési Alapkezelő Zrt.
1st place Emerging Portfolio Manager of the Year: Zoltán Szűcs
1st place Best Free Bond Fund of the Year: Aegon Emerging Europe Bond Fund – Zoltán Szűcs és Vitaliy Poplavets
1st place Best Long Bond Fund Of The Year: Aegon Polish Bond Fund – Gábor Németh
1st place Best Absolute Yield Non-Derivative Fund of the Year: Aegon MoneyMaxx – Ádám Bakos
2nd place Best Emerging Market Equity Fund Of The Year: Aegon Emerging Market ESG Equity Fund – György Pálfi, Péter Richter

 

in 2020

1st place Fund Manager of the Year: Aegon Magyarország Befektetési Alapkezelő Zrt.
1st place Portfolio Manager of the Year: András Loncsák
1st place Best Free Bond Fund of the Year: Aegon Emerging Europe Bond Fund – Zoltán Szűcs és Vitaliy Poplavets
1st place Best Long Bond Fund Of The Year: Aegon Polish Bond Fund – Gábor Németh
1st place Best Absolute Yield Non-Derivative Fund of the Year: Aegon Alfa – András Loncsák
2nd place Best Emerging Market Equity Fund Of The Year: Aegon Russia – György Pálfi

 

in 2019

I. helyezett Best Money Market Fund of the Year: Aegon Money Market Fund
II. helyezett Best Free Bond Fund of the Year: Aegon BondMaxx R series
II. helyezett Best Emerging Market Equity Fund Of The Year: Aegon Russia
II. helyezett Best Global Equity Fund of the Year: Aegon Emerging Market ESG B Series (previously: Aegon Asia)
III. helyezett Best Long Bond Fund Of The Year: Aegon Polish Bond Fund P Series

 

in 2018

1st place Emerging Portfolio Manager of the Year: György Pálfi
1st place Best Absolute Yield Non-Derivative Fund of the Year: Aegon Alfa – Ádám Bakos, Gábor Németh, Zoltán Szűcs
1st place Best Absolute Return Fund of the last 10 years: Aegon Alfa – Ádám Bakos, Gábor Németh, Zoltán Szűcs
1st place Best Domestic Money Market Fund of the Year: Aegon Money Market Fund
2nd place Best Free Bond Fund: Aegon Bondmaxx Total Return Bond Fund
3rd place Best Absolute Return Non-Derivative Fund: Aegon Moneymaxx Express
3rd place Best Free Bond Fund: Aegon Emerging Europe Bond Fund

 

Detailed information on the investment policy, distribution costs and potential investment risks of the funds can be found in the official prospectus and fund rules of the fund on our website. The information provided on this website is only for informational purposes and nothing on this website shall be considered a solicitation to buy, an offer to sell, or recommendation for securities, other financial products or services. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Aegon Magyarország Befektetési Alapkezelő Zrt. does not take responsibility for the investment decisions made on the basis of this announcement and its consequences.

 

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