Quarterly Investment Review for Risk Pools & JPAs: Q4-2023
View PDF

It was a strong quarter for global shares as the US Federal Reserve signaled that interest rates may have peaked and that cuts may be on the way for 2024. Developed markets outperformed emerging markets amid ongoing worries over China’s real estate sector. Crude oil prices fell despite some output cuts.

The final quarter of the year was a very positive one for fixed income markets, marking their best quarterly performance in over two decades, according to the Bloomberg Global Aggregate indices. The major driver of this performance was a perceived shift in monetary policy direction, from a “higher-for-longer” stance to prospective rate cuts. Government bond yields fell sharply, and credit markets rallied, outperforming government bonds.

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) kept rates unchanged throughout the quarter, with a much clearer shift to a more dovish tone in December accelerating the market rally. The revised dot plot – a chart plotting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) projections for the federal funds rate - indicated that three rate cuts are now anticipated for 2024, up from the previously expected two. With more encouraging news on PCE inflation (the Fed's most watched measure), the FOMC appears more comfortable with the progress made in bringing inflation back towards the target.