Quarterly Investment Review: Q3 2023

After strong gains for shares in the first half of 2023, global equities posted a negative return in Q3. Government bonds also declined in the quarter, with yields rising. Commodities were a notable outperformer with energy gaining amid oil production cuts from Saudi Arabia and Russia.

US equities were weaker in Q3. Investors entered the quarter optimistic that the Federal Reserve (Fed) had orchestrated a soft landing for the economy, and that the era of policy tightening rates would soon end. That enthusiasm withered over August and September, however, as the prospect of a sustained period of higher rates sank in. Overall, the US labor market remains very strong. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 3.8% in August.

During Q3 the US economy continued to surprise in its resilience, with the labor market remaining relatively robust and signs of improvement in the manufacturing sector. Concerns over rising US debt issuance weighed on the Treasury market. August saw Fitch Ratings downgrade the US's triple-A rating drop to double-A plus, citing the growing debt burden and an "erosion of governance" as reasons for its decision.

Insurer Investment Forum XXIII

Insurer Investment Forum March 29 - 30, 2023
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