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Looking for bright spots amid crisis

JUST as this publication goes to print, the onslaught of Covid-19 seems relentless. Over the past month, markets endured a wild ride as investors struggled to come to grips with the fallout from the pandemic. Central banks have rolled out stimulus measures, but this is primarily a health crisis. Unless the rate of infection begins to slow, domestic lockdowns and travel restrictions will depress consumption and economic growth.

Many strategists expect a severe global recession. As at April 2, Fitch Ratings said its baseline forecast is for a “deep” global recession, with lockdowns in US and Europe expected to reduce GDP by 30 per cent annualised in 2Q20, an “unprecedented” peacetime onequarter fall in GDP. Our Roundtable panel of experts generally posit a U-shaped recovery, “given the non-economic nature of supply shock”, as DBS chief investment officer Hou Wey Fook says. In our Spotlight piece, we highlight the outlook and risks of various types of income assets. Retail and office Reits, for example, generate an average current yield of over 8 per cent. The obvious caveat is a prolonged downturn.

In this edition, we profile ophthalmologist Julian Theng who runs a successful chain of specialist eye clinics plus a lifestyle business, the EagleWings Group. We also speak to Andrew Pidden, DWS Group head of sustainable investments, who brings more than two decades of experience to bear on the vital question of whether a sustainable investment is only skin deep. We hope you stay well and stay the course amidst the market upheaval.

Genevieve Cua
WEALTH EDITOR

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