Monthly Economic Wrap

During March:

  • S&P’s annual global real GDP forecast for 2024 has been revised up from 2.3% to 2.5%. This primarily reflects a significant upward revision to their U.S. forecast, related to unexpectedly strong growth in the final quarter of 2023. Some of that strength is also expected to persist in early 2024. The 2024 growth forecasts for Canada, the eurozone and the U.K. have also been revised higher in February’s update, although to a lesser extent.
  • Western Europe’s growth underperformance is likely to persist in the near term. S&P’s global growth forecast remains somewhat higher than market consensus expectations, supported by positive signals in S&P’s Purchasing Managers’ Index data.
  • Share market performance varied for February. The S&P 500 had a great month rising by 5.17%, while the Australian S&P 200 only managed a small gain of 0.23% on a price basis.
  • Global shares ex-Australia performed exceptionally well during February, producing a return of 5.9% on an unhedged basis. The result wasn’t quite as good for hedged global shares, but they still gained a more than acceptable 4.7%.
  • In Australia, Momentum and Equal Weight were the best performing styles for the month, while globally, the best performing styles were Momentum and Growth.
  • Within Fixed income markets, Australian government bonds lost ground, while credit was basically flat. The main Australian fixed interest index, the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Years Index was down 0.3%, while the Bloomberg AusBond Credit 0+ Years Index gained a miniscule 0.05%.
  • Global High Yield bonds, as measured by the Bloomberg Barclays Global High Yield Total Return Index Hedged into AUD gained 0.8% for the month of February.

Read more in the Monthly Economic Wrap here.


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