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December 2016 poll results

Emerging markets most popular despite Trump concerns

November brought us a new president in the name of Donald Trump, a man famous for his business empire but untried in the political arena and widely known for his ‘protectionist’ approach to trade, which is expected to impact exports for many emerging markets.

Asia felt the first blow when Trump announced the US would not continue with the Trans Pacific Partnership, which aimed to give 11 Asia Pacific countries including Singapore, Vietnam and Japan better access to the US market and was forecast to meaningfully boost economic growth in the region.

Emerging market currencies and equities suffered in the wake of Trump’s election and the US interest rate rise, which saw the US dollar strengthen against most global currencies. Uncertainty now reigns as we wait to see how many of Trump’s campaign ‘promises’ will be exercised after his inauguration to the White House.

Some investors have seen the uncertainty as a sell indicator, some have flocked to safe haven assets to minimise portfolio impact, and some have seen an opportunity to buy. FundCalibre visitors very much belonged to the latter group it appears, with over half of our December poll respondents selecting emerging market equities as the area in which they’d invest in 2017. James Donald, manager of Lazard Emerging Markets fund, recently discussed why he believes the investment landscape in emerging markets still looks strong despite slowing growth in some economies.

Developed market equities are the next most popular, with 28% of respondents intending to invest in them during 2017. These markets are by no means free of uncertainty themselves in 2017, as the implications of Trump’s presidency, Brexit and the ‘no’ vote in the Italian referendum will all play out. Investors will do well to take a long-term view and remember that good funds will have their ups and downs, while keeping an eye out for pockets of opportunity as they arise.

Bonds, property, commodities and cash all received less than 10% of the vote. With interest rates remaining at all-time lows around the developed world, the outlook for bonds continues to be grim. Meanwhile various property funds had to suspend trading after Brexit as many people sold off investments in the asset class after the surprise outcome. With income from cash also at all-time lows, the incentive to hold that asset seems to have decreased, leading many investors to look to equity funds for income.

With plenty of potential banana skins upcoming this year, it is important investors stay calm and diversify. Ensure you understand currency risks and read our guide on investing when the market is volatile.

Results in brief

After a year full of surprises, where would you invest in 2017?
Emerging market equities - 52%
Developed market equities - 28%
Bonds - 3%
Commodities - 4%
Property - 7%
Cash - 2%
Other - 5%

Poll result - December 2016

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