Exploring the dynamics and impact of currencies

The example of FP Carmignac Global Bond

Published on
27 June 2024
Read time
4 minute(s) read

Currency Management is one of the 3 pillars of our active global macro fixed income process, alongside duration and credit. Abdelak Adjriou, Lead portfolio manager for the FP Carmignac Global Bond fund, sees currency management as an important tool to add both alpha and downside protection.

Our 3-step approach to currencies in a nutshell

1.We start with the US Dollar versus the rest of the currencies to establish a clear top-down view.
2.We then employ a meticulous ‘bottom-up’ selection process for other currencies, differentiating the two sub-categories of developed and emerging currencies.
3.Finally, we look at valuations – meaning which currencies are deemed undervalued and on a positive trend.

Step 1: US dollar versus rest of the world currencies

Understanding the USD is our primary focus when analyzing the market from a top-down perspective. We meticulously evaluate several crucial sub-factors that contribute to the overall performance of this asset: the growth differential, the real interest rates impact, and the safe-haven status.

UNDERSTANDING THE GROWTH DIFFERENTIAL FACTOR

The principle is simple: we compare the performance of the US economy to other global economies, to determine the potential impact on the USD.

Source: Bloomberg, Carmignac, as of 31/05/2024. The scale is a base 100 measuring on the one side the evolution of the differential between MSCI US-MSCI World and on the other the DXY Index (an index which averages the exchange rates between the USD and the major world currencies).

The USD tends to exhibit a trend-following behavior. Periods in which the US economy outperformed the ‘Rest of the World’ are mid-70s to 85, early 90s to 2002 and the latest period goes from ’11 to date. Consequently, during these same periods, the USD has outperformed the rest of the currencies.
Today, the USD cycle is breaking this 8–10-year pattern mainly supported by the exceptionalism in US growth and the ongoing US fiscal stimuli. Our view is that the turning point from the USD cycle peak may be occurring, but it is certainly expected to be slower than initially predicted, unless there is a sharp US fiscal contraction in the near future.

DOLLAR AS DRIVEN BY REAL INTEREST RATES’ STRENGTH

Typically, the relationship between the "growth differential" and the real interest rate differential is closely intertwined. However, there are instances when this connection breaks, and the sole indicator of the dollar's trajectory becomes the real interest rates. Hence this element too has an important role in our process.

THE USD AS A SAFE HEAVEN

During recessions too, the USD value tends to rise as it serves as a safe haven. This dual role of the USD, as a growth proxy and a safe haven, is attributed to its status as the world's primary reserve currency and the stability of the US financial system.

Step 2: Creating alpha through bottom-up currency selection

SELECTING EMERGING MARKET CURRENCIES: TRADE BALANCE DYNAMICS ARE KEY

Emerging market currencies are influenced by fundamental and technical factors that shape their value such as real interest rates and current account dynamics. One of the most important factors is the flow of money into a country from abroad, monitored through the current account and more specifically the trade balance. A positive and expanding trade balance, indicates more exports than imports, leads to money inflows and strengthens the currency of a country.

Source: Bloomberg, Carmignac, as of 31/05/2024. Trade balance units are in millions of USD.

As of today, we have a positive outlook on the Chilean Peso in our Global Bond strategy, primarily due to its significant growth and positive dynamics in its Current Account/Trade Balance. Chile has consistently recorded trade surpluses since 1999, and its growth dynamics have been particularly strong since 2022, largely driven by increased copper shipments. Another currency that exemplifies the relationship between Trade Balance dynamics and currency valuations is the Polish Zloty (PLN), as depicted in the chart above. Therefore, our key takeaway is the importance of considering trade balance and current account dynamics in conjunction with currency valuations.

SELECTING DEVELOPED MARKET CURRENCIES: FOLLOW THE MONEY!

Developed market currencies on the other hand, are influenced by growth, real rates and specifically the dynamics of financial accounts, another sub-account of the balance of payments. That, for instance, means that countries with higher real interest rates may attract bond investors and capital, leading to a positive impact on their currency valuations. Additionally, countries with attractive and performing stock markets tend to also draw capital, further bolstering their currency. For example, in the 1990s, the Swedish Krona experienced a remarkable appreciation due to Sweden's stringent monetary policy aimed at combating inflation. This resulted in higher interest rates compared to other G10 countries, attracting a significant influx of capital, and sparking the appreciation of the Swedish Krona.

Step 3: Currency valuations

When it comes to assessing currency valuations, we utilize various models to determine the relative strength or weakness of a currency. One commonly used model is the Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER), which compares a country's currency to the currencies of its trading partners, considering inflation. This analysis helps us determine whether a currency is overvalued or undervalued.

Another model we consider is the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which compares the prices of goods and services between countries to determine the fair value of a currency. This valuation model is particularly effective in extreme scenarios, where a currency is over or under valued by more than 15% for developed market (DM) currencies or 30% for emerging market (EM) currencies.

SUMMARY OF CURRENT THINKING (JUNE 2024)

Positive USDCf. As per discussed above.40%
Examples of convictions, DMS (Longs)JPY: Despite strong currency fundamentals, the JPY is currently undervalued due to factors such as a current account surplus, income balance, and rising net external position, indicating a need for intervention by the authorities, although the Bank of Japan has not taken significant action so far.7%
NOK: We are long on oil and commodity related currencies. In addition, the risks of higher inflation especially in 2025 suggest that Norges Bank may delay starting its cutting cycle. Meanwhile, other G10 central banks, especially in Europe, are becoming more confident or have already started their own plans to cut interest rates. Hence our long in Nok. 4%
Examples of convictions, EM Longs INR: This positive view on the Indian Rupiah reflects India’s rapidly growing economy. India’s Trade Balance as also drastically improved especially thanks to exporting services. The currency has become significantly less volatile due to the central bank's inflation-related mandate, which has also helped reduce the budget deficit. Additionally, the central bank's substantial foreign reserves, ranking fourth globally, further contribute to the stability of the currency. Lastly, the upcoming inclusion of India's bond in a significant global index this week is expected to have a positive impact on the currency.3%
KRW: Our bullish outlook on the currency is underpinned by the robust expansion of the Korean trade surplus, primarily driven by the remarkable growth in semiconductor exports. 2%
ShortsCNH: China's deflationary pressures are expected to create opportunities for rate cuts and currency depreciation, hence our short in the currency.-12%
Source: Carmignac as of 27/06/2024 Portfolio composition may be changed anytime without notice.

Want to know more about our global macroeconomic approach to Fixed Income markets?

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FP Carmignac Global Bond A GBP ACC HGD

ISIN: GB00BJHQ2J63
Recommended minimum investment horizon
2 years
Risk indicator*
3/7
SFDR - Fund Classification
Article -

*Risk Scale from the KID (Key Information Document). Risk 1 does not mean a risk-free investment. This indicator may change over time.

Main risks of the fund

Credit: Credit risk is the risk that the issuer may default.Interest Rate: Interest rate risk results in a decline in the net asset value in the event of changes in interest rates.Currency: Currency risk is linked to exposure to a currency other than the Fund’s valuation currency, either through direct investment or the use of forward financial instruments.Discretionary Management: Anticipations of financial market changes made by the Management Company have a direct effect on the Fund's performance, which depends on the stocks selected.
The Fund presents a risk of loss of capital.

Fees

ISIN: GB00BJHQ2J63
Maximum subscription fees paid to distributors
0,00%
Redemption Fees
0,00%
Conversion Fee

-

Ongoing Charges
0.70%
Management Fees
0,62% EXT
Performance Fees

-

Footnote

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