The economic effects of Covid-19 have been masked with Government stimulus, Central Bank liquidity injections, policy changes and debt forgiveness or deferral. We note the following:
- Directors obligations diminished: through temporary amendments to the Corporations Act with respect to continuous disclosure (which potentially weakens having an informed market); a six month holiday on laws around insolvent trading; ATO reportedly deferring payment notices to companies.
- Capital raisings hastened: ASX listing rules changed to increase size and speed of raisings.
- RBA liquidity: to cap rates in the bond market and provision of cheap funding to banks.
- Industry:direct support for the property and building industry.
- One off superannuation withdrawals: ~ $15bn.
- JobKeeper:~ 3.5 million workers and $70bn in wages support.
- JobSeeker:~ 1 million people with increased benefits.
- Loan deferrals: ~ $230bn of loan deferrals from both business and households.
- Rent deferrals: residential and commercial tenants.
The above have led to a stock market environment that is currently assuming no lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and instead puts a lot of faith in the above measures to see us through. But many of these measures are slated to come to an end in the fourth quarter of 2020 where we believe the cash flow impacts will manifest for households and business. Despite the implication from rising share prices that all is well, we believe there are some companies that will face cash flow issues.
See attached for the full report.
The tragic human rights situation currently unfolding in Myanmar holds particular significance to our Sustainability Analyst Georgina. Please read Georgie’s poignant thoughts on her visit to the camp, our expectations on our portfolio companies in regard to Myanmar, and why Ethical Partners has recently signed on to the Investor Statement on Human Rights and Business Activities in Myanmar.
As members of the Investor Group on Climate Change, Ethical Partners Funds Management strongly endorses its new roadmap released today in conjunction with the CDP and the Principles for Responsible Investment. It is entitled: "Confusion to clarity: A plan for mandatory TCFD-aligned disclosure in Australia".
During May 2021 the Fund returned 1.56% versus the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index of 2.31%, underperforming the market by -0.75%. An underweight position in IT and an overweight position in Westpac contributed to relative performance while an overweight position in Consumer Staples and an underweight position in CBA detracted from relative performance.