Where you should have invested in 2022?
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Where you should have invested in 2022?
Jan 18, 2023 Episode 240
Stuart Wemyss

In 1905, George Santayana wrote; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s why it is always worthwhile to reflect on the past year to identify any lessons that we can learn. Below I share the investment lessons that I believe last year taught us.  

Review of markets in 2022

Firstly, let’s review what returns various asset classes generated in the 2022 calendar year. 

The US market lost around 20%. However, if you were an Australian investor (unhedged) you would have only lost approximately 12% because the Australian dollar devalued (compared to the USD) over the year. 

The global share index performed slightly better by losing circa 18% over the year, or still 12% if your investments were unhedged i.e., in AUD.  

The UK share market was relatively flat for the year regardless of whether your investments were hedged or not, as both the Australian dollar and British pound lost value over the year by a similar amount. 

According to Corelogic, house prices across the largest 5 capital cities fell by 7.1% and apartments by 5.5% over the 2022 calendar year. Sydney was the worst performing market losing 12.1% and Adelaide the best with a gain of 10.1% (Melbourne lost 8%). 

Unfortunately, bonds had their worst year on record (or at least since many bond indexes began in in the ‘70s). Bond indexes lost between 6% to 15% over the year, depending on exposure type. Bonds and shares falling in value at the same time has only occurred twice over the past 100 years, so 2022 was a strange year for bonds. 

Listed commercial property investment (REITs) values have been hammered by higher interest rates, lockdowns and work from home. REITs lost in the range of 20% and 25% in value over the course of 2022. Global infrastructure fared much better. It was even on an unhedged basis, and down circa 5% on a hedged basis. 

Cash and commodities were the best performing asset classes. For example, term deposits rates rose over the second half of 2022 and are now typically paying above 4% p.a.  

What can we learn from 2022? 

The first lesson we were reminded of is that investment returns are random and unpredictable in the short run. No one can pick which asset class will outperform over the next 12 months. The table below demonstrates how random asset class returns are. There

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