J.P. Morgan Releases 2020 Long-Term Capital Market Assumptions, Analysis Reveals Need For New Portfolio Construction Tactics in Low-Rate World

NEW YORK, Nov. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- J.P. Morgan Asset Management today released its 2020 Long-Term Capital Market Assumptions (LTCMAs), this year exploring the complexities of late-cycle investing in an environment of ultra-low bond yields. The research forecasts modest global growth over the next 10-15 years, as investors must re-think "safe-havens" in their portfolio now that bonds simply can't offer the same combination of portfolio protection and positive income that they have in the past.

"Our 2020 assumptions are being released against a backdrop of trade uncertainty between the world's economic superpowers and a recent reversal in the trajectory of global monetary policy," said John Bilton, Head of Global Multi-Asset Strategy, J.P. Morgan Asset Management. "In an environment of very low bond yields, investors must reassess how to design the optimal portfolio as the trade-off is no longer between foregone risky asset returns and reduced portfolio risk, but is instead between a zero or even negative return in exchange for that risk reduction."

"Over the last year, the economic cycle matured even further, becoming the longest U.S. expansion on record," Dr. David Kelly, Chief Global Strategist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management. "Our growth projections for the 10-15 year investment horizon remain relatively modest with aging populations a key headwind, while a technology-driven boost to productivity represents the main upside risk. Portfolio flexibility remains key for investors looking to manage cycle uncertainty, with those seeking higher returns continuing to be drawn to private markets and other alternatives as a both a diversifier and source of alpha."


Global Growth: Real global growth is expected to average 2.3% over the next 10-15 years, down 20 basis points (bps) from our projections last year. The developed market forecast remains unchanged at 1.5% but emerging market (EM) forecasts have been trimmed 35bps to 3.9%. Population aging is broadly to blame for the low forecasts for global growth.

Global Inflation: Projections for global inflation are little changed from last year, with global CPI forecast at 2.2%. In many countries, however, inflation will remain below this figure, particularly those such as Japan and Switzerland who have had many years of extremely low nominal rates. Further, we project that central banks in many countries will fall short of reaching their stated inflation targets over our forecast horizon.

Monetary Policy: Global monetary policy is expected to remain extremely accommodative throughout this cycle and well into the next one, leading to a significant delay in rate normalization being built into forecasts. That, in combination with much lower starting yields and a modest cut to our equilibrium yield estimates, adds up to a sharp fall in projected fixed income returns – in some cases taking them negative over the forecast horizon.

60/40 Portfolio Returns: Expected returns for a 60/40 U.S. stock-bond portfolio fall 10bps to 5.4% and the stock-bond frontier steepens a little. Sharp ratios for bonds fall sharply but still sit slightly ahead of equities in USD, while in other currencies they are now negative in some cases, pointing to a bleak outlook for fixed income returns.


Equities: The long-term return outlook for equities is slightly better in 2020 than last year. Average global equity return forecasts over the next 10-15 years rise 50bps to 6.5% in U.S. dollar terms. The forecast for developed markets is up 20bps to 5.7%, and for emerging markets (EM) it is raised 20bps, to 8.7% in local currency terms. In developed markets, the majority of this improvement is the result of better starting valuations, while in EM markets the boost is more evenly split between earnings and valuation.

Fixed Income: Cash return forecasts in most major currencies are lower as normalization assumptions have been extended. This year's assumptions include an explicit ranking of real cash rates across major markets.

Anticipating continued central bank dovishness, we shift our equilibrium interest rates lower across major G4 markets and extend the time horizon over which we expect rate normalization. In the wider fixed income complex, credit continues to offer a decent return uplift although expected total returns in U.S. investment grade credit have come down 110bps to 3.4% due to a renewed drag from interest rate normalization. For a long-term investor, credit may present an opportunity to enhance portfolio returns.

Alternatives: As public equity returns move a little higher this year, we see a parallel increase in private equity market returns. The 10-15 year aggregate private equity return forecast has been raised 55bps to 8.80%. Private equity continues to be attractive to those investors looking for return uplift, as well as those seeking more specific exposure to technology themes. This year we forecast that core U.S. real estate returns, levered, net of fees, will average 5.80% over the next 10-15 years. Casting the net more widely, forecast returns from global real assets and infrastructure have held up remarkably well, and given the resilience of their cash flows they may even act as a proxy for duration in portfolios with limited short run liquidity demands. Manager selection remains the primary determinant of returns across alternatives.

Currency Exchange Rates: As was the case last year, we expect the U.S. dollar (USD) to depreciate over our forecast horizon vs. other major global currencies. Our LTCMAs forecast a long-term equilibrium fair value for EURUSD of 1.38, for USDJPY of 88, and for GBPUSD of 1.48. The dollar's overvaluation could compromise some of the currency's appeal as a potential safe haven asset. We also note that currencies don't move to equilibrium in a straight line and crosses can remain at a good stretch from theoretical fair value for lengthy periods. Nevertheless, a persistently overvalued USD remains a meaningful consideration when designing an optimal global asset allocation.

In addition to covering key findings, the 2020 research explores four important themes in depth, including:

  • The failure of monetary stimulus – The limitations of conventional and unconventional monetary easing.
  • The next phase of China's growth – How China's financial markets are changing as it becomes a higher-income country.
  • New economy, same old returns? – What the adoption of e-commerce technology can mean for economic growth and investment opportunities.
  • Rethinking safe haven assets – What can investors do to build more resilient portfolios?

The LTCMAs are developed as part of a deep, proprietary research process that draws on quantitative and qualitative inputs as well as insights from a team of more than 30 experts across J.P. Morgan Asset Management. In its 24th year, these time-tested projections help build stronger portfolios, guide strategic asset allocations, and establish reasonable expectations for risk and returns over a 10- to 15- year timeframe for more than 50 major asset and strategy classes. These assumptions fuel decision-making in J.P. Morgan's multi-asset investing engine and inform client conversations throughout the year.

Please view the full 2020 Long-Term Capital Market Assumptions and thematic articles here.  

About J.P. Morgan Asset Management

J.P. Morgan Asset Management, with assets under management of $1.9 trillion (as of September 30, 2019), is a global leader in investment management. J.P. Morgan Asset Management's clients include institutions, retail investors and high net worth individuals in every major market throughout the world. J.P. Morgan Asset Management offers global investment management in equities, fixed income, real estate, hedge funds, private equity and liquidity.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.9 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the marketing name for the asset management businesses of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and its affiliates worldwide. 

The resulting projections derived from the J.P. Morgan Asset Management ("JPMAM") Long Term Capital Market Assumptions include only the benchmark return associated with the portfolio and does not include alpha from the underlying product strategies within each asset class. The assumptions are presented for illustrative purposes only. They must not be used, or relied upon, to make investment decisions.  The assumptions are not meant to be a representation of, nor should they be interpreted as JPMAM investment recommendations. Allocations, assumptions, and expected returns are not meant to represent JPMAM performance. Please note all information shown is based on assumptions, therefore, exclusive reliance on these assumptions is incomplete and not advised.  The individual asset class assumptions are not a promise of future performance. Note that these asset class assumptions are passive-only; they do not consider the impact of active management.  

Opinions and statements of financial market trends that are based on current market conditions constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations. The information in this piece is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for accounting, legal, and tax advice or investment recommendations.

The views contained herein are not to be taken as advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any investment in any jurisdiction, nor is it a commitment from J.P. Morgan Asset Management or any of its subsidiaries to participate in any of the transactions mentioned herein. Any forecasts, figures, opinions or investment techniques and strategies set out are for information purposes only, based on certain assumptions and current market conditions and are subject to change without prior notice. All information presented herein is considered to be accurate at the time of production. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision and it should not be relied upon by you in evaluating the merits of investing in any securities or products. In addition, users should make an independent assessment of the legal, regulatory, tax, credit and accounting implications and determine, together with their own professional advisers, if any investment mentioned herein is believed to be suitable to their personal goals. Investors should ensure that they obtain all available relevant information before making any investment. It should be noted that investment involves risks, the value of investments and the income from them may fluctuate in accordance with market conditions and taxation agreements and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Both past performance and yields are not reliable indicators of current and future results.

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SOURCE J.P. Morgan Asset Management

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