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Manulife Asset Management report sees positive Japanese corporate bond yield outlook under Abenomics

May 22, 2014



ENP Newswire - 22 May 2014

Release date- 22052014 - Manulife Asset Management has released Abenomics: Implications for credit strategy in a Japan fixed income context.

The report, the third in a series examining the effect of the Abe administration's strategy to revive Japan's economy, finds continued implementation of unprecedented monetary easing should keep Japanese corporate bond yields stable in the medium term.

Commenting on the findings, Keisuke Tsumoto, Head of Fixed Income Investment for Manulife Asset Management Japan, said: 'Our analysis reveals a cautiously optimistic outlook for investment in Japanese credit. We find that continued Quantitative Easing (QE) under Abenomics has driven interest rates down to a point where there is a relatively high spread between corporate return on assets and the cost of debt. We expect this to remain the case as long as QE continues, creating a strong incentive for companies to invest in their operations, driving economic growth and contributing to higher inflation.

'Against this backdrop, credit spreads are currently at their narrowest point since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Given the likelihood of continued accommodative monetary policy as the government pursues its inflation target of 2.0%, we see the credit spread remaining at this level over the next six months or so, creating a generally stable environment for credit investment.'

The key risk highlighted in the report is that low interest rates could lead companies to overleverage, setting the stage for rapid credit spread widening in the event of a financial recession or sudden tightening of monetary policy.

However, Tsumoto-san explained: 'We do not see this as a major concern over the coming six months as global macroeconomic conditions are generally supportive and Abenomics has not yet achieved its inflation target. Under these conditions we are particularly constructive on Japanese credit in sectors such as electric utilities, financial services, real estate, telecommunications and electronics. We are also positive on select high-yield bonds.'

The first report in the series, The outlook for Abenomics: Implications for financial markets, was released soon after the policy was unveiled. It provided a comprehensive introduction to the 'three arrows' of Abenomics - effective monetary policy, bold fiscal policy and growth strategies - and undertook a detailed scenario analysis of possible outcomes for the Japanese economy and financial markets, including salient risk factors.

The second report, Abenomics: Implications for interest rate strategy in a Japan fixed income context, followed the one-year anniversary of the policy. It examined the effect of Abenomics on the Japanese government bond (JGB) market. The report found that Abenomics had already made significant progress stimulating economic growth and combatting deflation in Japan. It foresaw continued downward pressure on JGB yields via QE and the introduction of forward guidance and looked ahead to possible outcomes for the asset class in 2014.

Manulife Asset Management's Abenomics series of research reports on can be accessed at www.manulifeam.com.

About Manulife Asset Management

Manulife Asset Management is the global asset management arm of Manulife Financial, providing comprehensive asset management solutions for institutional investors and investment funds in key markets around the world. This investment expertise extends across a broad range of public and private asset classes, as well as asset allocation solutions. As at 31 March 2014, assets under management for Manulife Asset Management were US$269 billion. Manulife Asset Management's public markets units have investment expertise across a broad range of asset classes including public equity and fixed income, and asset allocation strategies. Offices with full investment capabilities are located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In addition, Manulife Asset Management has a joint venture asset management business in China, Manulife TEDA. The public markets units of Manulife Asset Management also provide investment management services to affiliates' retail clients through product offerings of Manulife and John Hancock. John Hancock Asset Management and Declaration Management and Research are units of Manulife Asset Management. Additional information about Manulife Asset Management may be found at ManulifeAM.com.

About Manulife

Manulife is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Clients look to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife and its subsidiaries were approximately US$574 billion as at 31 March 2014. Our group of companies operates as Manulife in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

Media contact:

Ginie Lam

Manulife Asset Management (Asia)

Tel: +852 2202 1965

ginie_yn_lam@manulifeam.com


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Source: ENP Newswire


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