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Eric Cheung, Oreana Financial Services
The new year should have augured well for Asia-Pacific equity markets. Phase one of a US-China trade deal had been signed and the region’s supply-chains were reinvigorated, while China’s stumbling economic growth was being buttressed by domestic stimulus measures.
Then came the coronavirus outbreak, closing factories, emptying offices and evacuating shopping malls.
Although “uncertain” is perhaps an over-used word in financial market commentary, it is an appropriate one for the trajectory and impact of the coronavirus scare. Nevertheless, one likely expectation is that Asia-Pacific first quarter corporate earnings will be poor.
Yet, the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index has been remarkably resilient, despite the dramatic fall in the final week of February. It is down 6.09% year-to-date, which is less of a decline than the MSCI World Index (-6.70%).
Investors might consider the current period of market instability as an opportunity. If so, they need to assess the best type fund to weather further bouts of volatility, according to Eric Cheung, investment strategist at Oreana Financial Services.
FSA asked Cheung to compare two big, well-respected Asia ex-Japan equity products: the Aberdeen Sicav I Asia Pacific Equity Fund and the First State Asian Equity Plus Fund.