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Specialist in Asia Pacific, Japan, China, India and South East Asia and Global Emerging Market equities.

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Our philosophy is very simple. We are constantly searching for high quality businesses and when we acquire them, we will work relentlessly with them to create long-term sustainable value through innovation, ESG-led and proactive asset management.

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Stewart Investors manage investment portfolios on behalf of our clients over the long term and have held shares in some companies for over 20 years. They launched their first investment strategy in 1988.

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Global Listed Infrastructure Monthly review and outlook

Global Listed Infrastructure Monthly review and outlook

A monthly review and outlook of the Global Listed Infrastructure sector.

Market review - as at August 2022

Global Listed Infrastructure held up relatively well in August as renewed concerns about inflation and rising interest rates weighed on financial markets. The Airports (+3%) sector performed well, as June quarter earnings numbers highlighted positive operating leverage to improving passenger volumes. The worst performing infrastructure sector was Towers/Data Centres (-6%). These relatively interest rate-sensitive stocks lagged after a speech by the head of the US Federal Reserve emphasised a determination to keep raising interest rates until inflation subsides. 

The best performing infrastructure region was Latin America (+8%), reflecting strong returns from Mexico’s airports and Brazil’s railroads and toll roads. The worst performing infrastructure region was the United Kingdom (-5%). Its utilities fell after higher natural gas prices caused a sharp rise in the regulator-set limit on UK consumer energy bills from October onwards. This led to concerns about the potential need for changes to the regulatory model, or political intervention.

 

All stock and sector performance data expressed in local currency terms. Source: Bloomberg.

Market outlook and Strategy

The Portfolio invests in a range of listed infrastructure assets including toll roads, airports, railroads, utilities and renewables, energy midstream, wireless towers and data centres. These sectors share common characteristics, like barriers to entry and pricing power, which can provide investors with inflation-protected income and strong capital growth over the medium-term.

Against an unpredictable economic backdrop, listed infrastructure remains supported by a number of structural growth drivers. We remain optimistic about the substantial investment opportunities associated with the decarbonisation of the world’s energy needs. Utilities, which represent about a half of the listed infrastructure opportunity set, are positioned to derive steady, regulated earnings growth by building solar and wind farms, and by upgrading and expanding the networks needed to connect these new power sources to the end user. In the medium term, the roll-out of electric vehicles is then expected to provide an additional boost to utilities — first from investment opportunities associated with linking EV charging stations to the grid; and then from higher overall demand for electricity. Our strategy has a long-held preference for US over UK/European utility companies, owing to relatively transparent and fair US regulatory frameworks and historically lower levels of US political and regulatory interference.

Digitalisation is another key theme for the asset class. Structural growth in demand for mobile data (underpinned by an ever-growing reliance on digital connectivity) continues to support steady earnings growth for Towers and Data Centres, insulating them from the ebbs and flows of the broader global economy. The changes required during the pandemic have already led to a greater reliance on wireless data in many people’s everyday lives. The adoption of 5G technology over the medium term will require networks to handle increased data speed, and a much higher number of connected devices.

Source : Company data, First Sentier Investors, as of 31 August 2022.

Important information

This material is prepared by First Sentier Investors (Singapore) (“FSI”) (Co. Reg No. 196900420D.) whose views and opinions expressed or implied in the material are subject to change without notice. To the extent permitted by law, FSI accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss, whether direct or indirect, arising from any use of or reliance on this material. This material is published for general information and general circulation only and does not have any regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any specific person who may receive this material. Investors may wish to seek advice from a financial adviser and should read the Prospectus, available from First Sentier Investors (Singapore) or any of our Distributors before deciding to subscribe for the Portfolio. In the event that the investor chooses not to seek advice from a financial adviser, he should consider carefully whether the Portfolio in question is suitable for him. Past performance of the Portfolio or the Manager, and any economic and market trends or forecast, are not indicative of the future or likely performance of the Portfolio or the Manager. The value of units in the Portfolio, and any income accruing to the units from the Portfolio, may fall as well as rise. Investors should note that their investment is exposed to fluctuations in exchange rates if the base currency of the Portfolio and/or underlying investment is different from the currency of your investment. Units are not available to US persons.

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