Pareturn Columbus European equities Class I is up by 8.80% in January 2023 and by 15.16% in the last 3 months, higher than the European equity markets. Since inception in June 2008, Columbus has returned 142.7%, far outperforming the European equity markets.
We maintain our view that the key to the behaviour of the markets is the evolution of inflation. It has now peaked and begun its journey to lower levels and the markets have reacted to the upside. Investors are assuming a longer period of higher interest rates as they begin to accept the message from Central Banks that more time is needed to cool inflation in the face of resilient labour markets.
Since 2012, Central Banks have committed to a 2% inflation target. The appropriateness of the 2% inflation target itself, could be questioned, and we could see changes over the years to a higher target (3%-4%). For the time being, Central Banks are sticking at least verbally to that target.
A very important development is that Europe has managed to make it through winter so far without severe energy shortages, thanks to above normal temperatures, ample supplies, and reduced consumption. Gas storage sites are around 81% full, some 20 percentage points above the five-year average. The region is on track to end the season with inventories over 50% and more than enough gas to completely replenish its storages by the start of next winter.
Companies continue to surprise both in sales and profits as they publish their results. Nevertheless, they are moderating their guidance for the coming quarters and the message to control spending is spreading, in anticipation of a slowdown in economic activity.
As for the Columbus portfolio, the main performers during January have been Fraport (Frankfurt airport) up 36.8% and Autotrader (+21.6%), the UK second hand car web. The main laggard was Neoen (-8.7%) the French renewable company. The strong price movements were not reactions to specific company news.
Since June 14, 2018, both national and foreign investors have been able to access the Columbus strategy through the Master-Feeder structure between Columbus 75 Sicav in Spain and the Luxembourg registered Pareturn Columbus European Equities Fund offers institutional and retail share classes denominated in euros. We have also just set up a sterling share class to facilitate investments from the UK. The Spanish Sicav has been dissolved in December 2022 to adapt to the new Spanish legislation. Total return for the Sicav since inception in June 2008 was 113.32%.