Investor sentiment improving
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Christine St Anne: Each quarter the Financial Services Council surveys Chief Investment Officers or CIOs from a number of investment firms. Today, I'm joined by James Bond to give us an overview of the results.
James Bond: Thanks, thanks for inviting me.
St Anne: James, so what are CIOs thinking from the last quarter?
Bond: Well, CIOs are much more positive this quarter, that's the September quarter, than they were in the June quarter. In the June quarter, we saw sentiment go negative for the first time since we've been running the series, but in September they are much more positive, though they are more positive in the positive territory, but still not particularly confident Iï¿½d say.
St Anne: So could the slight uptick in optimism perhaps signal some green shoots?
Bond: Well, I think it's a sign of different forces working different directions. On the positive side - some positive messages coming out of Europe about the political will to resolve the crisis over there. I think that's a positive, but on the Chinese economy, which had been - had fallen off the radar, as a risk has come back on the radar very strongly this quarter.
St Anne: James, are CIOs more optimistic of some asset classes over others?
Bond: I can say universally, they are very negative about international and domestic fixed income and the reason they give is that, as we saw last week, and this survey was taken three weeks ago, they expected more quantitative easing, more intervention by central banks buying bonds, and if the central banks are buying bonds, it's pushing prices down and really should be buying bonds if that's the case.
St Anne: James, you mentioned China, is that among the short-term concerns of CIOs?
Bond: Yeah, so whereas last year I think the risk was contagion from Europe, now I think the risk is that rather than we're seeing a short-term slowdown in Chinese economy, what we're seeing is a step down in growth, a step down to a more sustainable period of growth in China and so we're still going to see strong growth, but it's not going to be as strong as we've seen in the past few years.
St Anne: And what are the long-term concerns?
Bond: So again, the Chinese economy and then that step down to a slow rate of growth, but also the deleveraging of these huge fiscal and current account in balances that the United States and Europe has. The fact that these have to be unwound eventually, is this going to lean to a period of very slow growth like we saw in Japan, where there just was no growth at all for over a decade as their fiscal problems were unwound.
St Anne: James, thanks so much for your insights today.
Bond: Thanks for inviting me on, thanks.
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