The Australian market underperformed most developed market indices over the month of October and also over the past twelve months as the Materials sector, in particular, has weighted on the local market. Australia’s commodity heavy stock market has been particularly impacted by the speculation that despite the CRB (Commodity Research Bureau) index being at its highest level in many years, premature interest rate rises by central banks will dampen the global economic recovery. Energy, Materials, Industrials and Staples underperformed during the month and held our market flat vs the US market up 7% (S&P500). Technology and Healthcare outperformed as the yield curve flattened despite bond yields rising strongly, which means that even while a recovery is currently occurring the market is already anticipating its demise, just as it begins.
Consensus estimates expect that almost all hard industrial commodities fall sharply from current levels back to mid cycle or below cycle levels in the short to medium term. The forward curves for Steel, Copper, Nickel, Aluminium, Tin, Zinc and others all show declining price expectations. The economic recovery’s demise is seemingly full steam ahead and the related mining equities are reflecting that outlook with many underperforming their underlying commodity baskets even further. This is leading to falling earnings estimates for the overall Australian equity market over the next 1-2 years even while US earnings estimates continue to increase. The FY23 earnings growth for Australian equities stands at -1.5% driven by an expected fall of -27% in earnings for Materials stocks.
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Ethical Partners are pleased to see Australia take the next steps to implement mandatory climate reporting with the release of draft climate standards, which we provided feedback on.
Ethical Partners have continuously called for the provision of high quality, comparable data on company’s climate governance and carbon metrics, which we believe is imperative for investors to fulfil the potential of responsible investment.
Ethical Partners have been proud to have been active supporters of the TNFD Forum over the past few years, and to provide regular feedback on the development of the official TNFD recommendations, which were launched in December, as well as to be active members of the RIAA Natural Capital Working Group.