The outlook for currencies

This article is part of
Summer Investment Monitor - June 2015

Japan is a case in point. The nation has printed a phenomenal amount of money as part of its asset-buying programme during the past three years. In that time, the yen has lost almost 30 per cent of its value compared with sterling.

However, in the first quarter the yen actually appreciated, which meant hedged investors would have underperformed the index in that period, all other things being equal.

The yen has since fallen in value and is down 3 per cent against the dollar for the year to May 31.

Managers should remain aware that currencies can often trade on technicals and sentiment that push them far from their intrinsic value, and they can remain so for much longer than an investor can hold out.

Investors should beware of following conventional wisdom. Quantitative easing was widely expected to depress sovereign yields, but evidence from the US and Japan has showed that thesis to be patchy at best.

Its long-term effect on currencies could prove just as tenuous.

David Coombs is head of multi-asset investment at Rathbones