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07/15/19 A universe of opportunities: emerging market corporate bonds
In 2004 the EM hard-currency corporate bond universe was relatively small at approximately USD 270bn. By 2009 the asset class had more than doubled to USD 600bn driven by strong economic expansion across developing economies. By the end of 2018, the emerging market hard-currency corporate bond universe had grown to USD 2.2 trillion. The investment universe also boasts attractive yields, solid fundamentals, which continue to improve, and it still has a lot of potential for continued growth. In short, EM fixed income still delivers income. 
06/28/19 The Opportunities of Low Interest Rates
Frankfurt, 28 June 2019 – Germany's public debt fell by 1.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019 to 1,927.2 billion euros. This was reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Thursday. At the same time, the cabinet draft for the federal budget 2020 adopted on Wednesday foresees a further reduction of the debt ratio from 59 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the current year to 51 percent in 2023. According to Patrick Vogel, one of the fund managers of the MainFirst Absolute Return Multi Asset, now is not the time to save. "The continued low interest rates present an ideal opportunity to help the country achieve higher long-term growth through targeted fiscal policy, economic stimulus programs and structural reforms," Vogel said. At minus 32 basis points, the 10-year German government bond yield is at a historic low. Austria has already used the low interest rate environment to issue 100-year bonds. Germany should also take advantage of the low refinancing costs. "In this interest rate environment, investing in future growth makes particular sense," emphasises the investment expert.
06/12/19 Mexico: Interesting investment opportunities in the energy and finance sector
Zurich, 12 June 2019 - A new president, low growth in the first quarter of 2019 and the tensions with the US around immigration and trade: Mexico faces a number of challenges. Not least in view of the tense situation with the US, many investors are currently rather cautious towards the Latin American country. Cornel Bruhin, fund manager for the MainFirst Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund Balanced, continues to find interesting investment opportunities in Mexico - particularly in the energy and financial sectors: "Oil and gas, electricity and finance have little exposure to the US economy. Tourism and exports can even benefit from a weaker Mexican peso as most goods and services are paid in US dollars but their operating costs are in pesos," Bruhin points out. With a precise knowledge of the companies, there may even be opportunities to expand positions.
In addition, the US and Mexican governments have reached to an agreement based on months of secret negotiations. Even if Trump threatens to impose tariffs again, they are unlikely to be imposed. Because they would affect US consumers considerably and the American automotive industry would suffer particularly as a result.  Moreover, Mexico is the third biggest trading partner of the USA and the tariffs would jeopardise the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Additional Insights

06/19/19 Role Model: Land of the Rising Sun?
For years now, Japan has faced such challenges as an ageing population, high pension liabilities and persistently low interest rates. Europe is increasingly being affected by the same challenges. Can Japan's solutions also offer Europe a way out? Model solutions: Abe’s three arrows for Japan
The economic policy of Abenomics, named after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, consists essentially of three arrows: fiscal stimulus including economic recovery measures, ultra-loose monetary policy and structural reforms. They are designed to ensure the generation of sustainable economic growth in the future despite the named challenges.
The ultra-loose monetary policy financed the government’s economic stimulus packages of over 230 billion Euro in infrastructure such as roads, bridges and earthquake protection. The tax cuts for companies - especially for technology companies – have also served to boost the economy. The Nikkei, Japan's leading index, has risen significantly in recent years and unemployment is at its lowest level in 25 years. Part of the structural reform programme included a liberalisation of the labour market and a deregulation of the energy, environment and health sectors to help restore Japan's competitiveness.
The initiative Society 5.0 is also intended to restore Japan’s competitiveness and to increase productivity. Accordingly, robotics was declared a key industry to counter the consequences of demographic change and the associated labour shortage in 2004. Robots are to be found not only in production halls, but also in the service and entertainment sectors. Already today, robots support and facilitate heavy physical activities, such as lifting during care-taking activities. Through targeted support, Japan has developed into an export country for robotics and is making a name for itself as a market leader in the long term, profiting from rising revenues and a relief on the labour market. Nippon is a pioneer of modern technologies and has promising companies whose shares can achieve significantly higher returns than any savings account.
04/09/19 Attractive yields with bonds from Ecuador, Surinam and Papua New Guinea – how can one achieve that?
All three countries belong to the so-called frontier markets, i.e. they are on the verge of becoming emerging markets. The term usually goes hand in hand with robust growth potential, a strong drive for reform and low valuations. This offers interesting investment opportunities for expert investors and active managers. As contrarian investors and early movers, we in the Emerging Markets Team at MainFirst not only observe emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India, but also frontier markets such as Surinam, Papua New Guinea and Ecuador – and their growth potential.
03/11/19 What does China's course mean for European investors?
China was the most developed country in the world for over 4000 years. Only in the last 400 years was this not the case. But over the last 40 years, China has been catching up again and has already overtaken the western world in many areas. The question many investors ask themselves, is how they can profit from this development. In other words, how can investors judge which changes currently offer the greatest growth potential and how can they use them to generate returns. To answer this, the team around Frank Schwarz at MainFirst has analysed general structural trends, specific Chinese developments and the country’s strategic orientation in order to be able to make the best investment decisions. Some interesting trends they found come from the area of power production and consumption. 


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Videos / Podcasts

MainFirst Portfoliomanager Briefing - Björn Esser 
11.04.2019 / 40:33

MainFirst Portfoliomanager Briefing - Adrian Daniel 
13.03.2019 / 33:44

MainFirst Portfoliomanager Briefing - Olgerd Eichler 
11.02.2019 / 30:03