GUM: MPF Rebounds in November, with YTD MPF returns per member earning $2,960. European and US MPF Funds outperformed the market

Dec 5, 2023
Reading Time: 12 minutes

【December 5, 2023】 – In November 2023, the “GUM MPF Composite Index” rose by 4.1% to 220.60 points, the “GUM MPF Equity Fund Index” increased by 4.6% to 287.91 points, the “GUM MPF Mixed Asset Fund Index” rose by 5.5% to 222.79 points, and the “GUM MPF Fixed Income Fund Index” saw a slight increase of 1.1% to 124.41 points. In November 2023, the average earnings per member in the MPF were HK$9,366, with a total gain of HK$2,960 year-to-date.

GUM Investment and Strategic Consultant, Martin Wan, stated, ” The stock market experienced a rapid reversal in November. The market began to see speculative sentiment reaching its peak and is expected to see interest rate cuts after March next year. However, the Hong Kong and mainland markets are still troubled by the internal housing crisis, resulting in a relatively weak rebound. Nevertheless, with the stabilization of the Renminbi, easing of US-China relations, and the implementation of economic support measures, the Hong Kong and mainland markets still have certain long-term attractiveness.”

Table 1: Overall performance of MPF and average return in November

IndexValueNovember 2023 Return (%)2023 YTD Return (%)
GUM MPF Composite Index220.604.1%1.3%
GUMMPF Equity Fund Index287.914.6%-1.1%
GUM MPF Mixed Asset Fund Index222.795.5%3.8%
GUM MPF Fixed Income Fund Index124.411.1%2.1%
Average MPF Gain/Loss Per Member Note 1 (HK$)+9,366+2,960

Review and Outlook

The US stock market has experienced a rapid rebound in November, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassing the year’s high of 36,000 points. The S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index have also returned to their July highs. Additionally, inflation data in the US has shown positive impact, with the annual growth rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropping to 3.2% in October, and the core inflation rate also declining to 4.0%. The market widely believes that inflation in the US is under control, and there is an expectation that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates earlier in the second quarter, prompting a rebound in both the stock and bond markets.

In the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese stock markets, the internal housing debt issue continues to escalate, and the Hang Seng Index has not been able to surpass the barrier of 17,000 points. According to market rumors, the Chinese government plans to establish a whitelist of 50 qualified real estate developers eligible for financing to support the struggling real estate market. However, in the short term, it may be challenging to completely reverse the sluggish situation in the real estate market.

Analysis of Equity Fund Performance

China & Hong Kong

The recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the United States Joe Biden has had a positive impact on China-US relations, bringing relief to the tense situation. It has also provided new opportunities for business collaboration, military affairs, and global crisis resolution. As a result, we have witnessed a strengthening of the Chinese Yuan. With market expectations of the US interest rate hike cycle coming to an end, there is a possibility that the exchange rate of the Yuan against the US dollar could surpass the 7.1 level.

In the real estate sector, according to market rumors, regulatory agencies in China are currently working on a list of 50 qualified developers who will have access to various forms of financing. This is an effort to support the struggling real estate market. However, it’s important to note that these measures will require time to assess their effectiveness, and it’s uncertain if they will be able to fully reverse the current sluggishness in the real estate market in the short term.

United States

The US stock market experienced a rapid rebound in November, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 gaining 8.9% and the Nasdaq Composite Index rising by 10.7%. However, the US Leading Economic Index has been declining for the 19th consecutive month. Despite strong economic growth in the third quarter, the market expects a slowdown in 2024, with a growth rate of around 2%. The Federal Reserve is not expected to further increase interest rates and is projected to begin cutting rates by mid-2024.

Europe

In November, the annual inflation rate in the Eurozone, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), dropped to 2.4%, below the expected 2.7%. The core inflation, which excludes volatile components, also significantly decreased to 3.6%, lower than the expected 3.9%. Fabio Panetta, a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), stated that the economic growth in the Eurozone for the fourth quarter is weak. Although core inflation is expected to continue to decelerate in 2024, there are still risks to price stability. Therefore, the ECB deems it necessary to implement a tighter monetary policy, if needed, to maintain policy restraint while avoiding unnecessary damage to economic stability.

Asia Pacific

The Indian economy exceeded market expectations in the third quarter, growing at an annual rate of 7.6%. This can be attributed to the rapid expansion of the manufacturing sector and increased government spending, allowing India to maintain its position as the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

On the other hand, the Bank of Korea decided to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at its policy meeting last week. The central bank also indicated that it may need to maintain higher rates in the long term to address persistent inflation risks. The Bank of Korea has revised its inflation rate forecast for next year to 2.6% and lowered its economic growth forecast to 2.1%.

Japan

Warren Buffett has once again issued yen-denominated bonds, totaling 122 billion yen, sparking a strong reaction in the Japanese stock market. The Nikkei Stock Average briefly reached a record high of 33,848 points, the highest level in 33 years. Buffett’s continued successful investments in the Japanese market, particularly in the stocks of the five major trading companies, have contributed to this positive trend. Against the backdrop of foreign investors seeking risk appetite, the Japanese stock market has reached new highs since the bursting of the bubble. The rise in the Nikkei Stock Average has been driven by inflows of overseas funds, as investors have a positive outlook on the Japanese economic prospects and have confidence in corporate earnings performance. The strong fundamentals and low-interest rate environment have attracted investment in the market.

Table 2: Ranking of Equity Fund Performance According To November Returns

RankingEquity Sub-category Fund IndexNovember 2023 Return (%)2023 YTD Return (%)
1European Equity9.8%13.9%
2United States Equity9.1%22.5%
3Global Equity8.5%14.8%
4Japanese Equity8.2%21.0%
5Asian Equity6.1%0.2%
6Other Equity Fund5.7%2.5%
7Greater China Equity3.2%-9.2%
8Hong Kong Equity0.4%-14.4%
9Hong Kong Equity (Index Tracking)-0.3%-11.5%

Analysis of Mixed Assets fund performance

The mixed asset funds, along with the equity funds, experienced an increase in November. Among them, the “DIS- Core Accumulation Fund” had the highest growth, rising by 6.3%. The rebound in the stock market during November resulted in better performance for mixed asset funds with higher allocation to stocks. For example, the ” Mixed Asset- (>80-100% Equity)” and the ” Mixed Asset- (>60-80% Equity)” grew by 6.0% and 5.4% respectively.

Table 3: Ranking of Mixed Assets Fund Performance According To November Returns

RankingMixed Assets Sub-category Fund IndexNovember 2023 Return (%)2023 YTD Return (%)
1DIS Core Accumulation Fund6.3%9.9%
2Target-Date Fund6.2%2.5%
3Mixed Asset- (>80-100% Equity)6.0%3.3%
4Mixed Asset- (>60-80% Equity)5.4%2.5%
5Mixed Asset- (>40-60% Equity)5.1%1.5%
6Mixed Asset- (>20-40% Equity)4.6%1.3%
7DIS Age 65 Plus Fund4.2%3.7%
8Other Mixed Asset4.1%-0.6%
9Dynamic Allocation Fund3.6%0.1%

Analysis of Fixed Income Fund Performance

According to market expectations, interest rates in the United States may have reached a peak and could start to decrease in the second quarter of next year. In light of this expectation, bond funds have shown signs of rebound. The “Global Bond Fund” and “Asia Bond Fund” recorded growth of 4.4% and 3.6% respectively in November. Moreover, these two funds have also delivered positive returns year-to-date, with gains of 0.7% and 1.0% respectively. The “Conservative Fund” in the MPF continued to provide stable positive returns in November, with an increase of 0.3%. When calculated from the beginning of the year, this fund has achieved a growth rate of 3.2%.

Table 4:Ranking of Bond & Money Markets Fund Performance According To November Returns

RankingFixed Income Sub-category Fund IndexNovember 2023 Return (%)2023 YTD Return (%)
1Global Bond4.4%0.7%
2Asian Bond3.6%1.0%
3Hong Kong Dollar Bond2.6%3.4%
4RMB Bond2.5%1.7%
5RMB & HKD Money Market Fund1.9%0.4%
6Guaranteed Fund1.1%1.0%
7HKD Money Market Fund0.5%3.3%
8Conservative Fund0.3%3.2%

Remarks:

The average MPF return per member is calculated using total MPF assets of the previous month. This was 1,064,000 million HKD as of 31 October 2023. The latest average assets per member was HK$226,672 as of 31 October 2023. The number of MPF Scheme members was 4,694,000 as of 31 March 2023. The GUM MPF Composite Index return for November 2023 as of November 30, 2023.”

*The growth of all fund categories indexes is calculated by asset-weighted point-to-point growth. The data for November 2023 return is summarized from 1 November to 31 November 2023. 

中文版本:

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About GUM 

GUM is a boutique consulting firm that provides solutions to corporate on MPF and employee benefits. We focus on people and that is why we put “U” in the very core of our brand “GUM”.  Our priorities are always meeting the needs of our corporate clients and their employees, our strategic partners as well as all MPF members of Hong Kong. With our vast market experience and expert teams around actuarial, investment and employee communication, GUM leads the market to innovate, walking hand in hand with our clients to go faster and further. 

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This document provided the information on an “AS IS” basis. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any of the information contained in this document. Some information contained in this document contains forward-looking statements. The words “believe”, “expect” and similar expressions are also intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts. Rather, these forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs, assumptions, expectations, estimates, and projections of our management. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond our control and are difficult to predict. Consequently, actual results could differ materially from those expressed, implied or forecasted in these forward-looking statements. Reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements.

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