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Super funds up 20 per cent as they roar back to beat pre-Covid levels

Business

Super funds returns were now back above the level they were before COVID-19 devastated investment markets, according to research and data firm Chant West

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It said the median growth fund’s cumulative return for the year to March was about 20 per cent.

Chant West senior investment research manager Mano Mohankumar said it was a remarkable bounce back.

“Since the recovery began at the end of March last year there has only been one negative monthly result, and that was just a slight retreat in September,’’ he said.

“The cumulative return from end-March 2020 to mid-March 2021 now stands at just under 20 per cent.

He said listed share markets, which are the main drivers of growth fund performance, had a healthy February despite developing some wobbles towards the end of the month.

“While there’s great optimism around the rollout of vaccines and a return to some economic normality, there were some fears that a stronger than expected economic recovery may result in increased inflation and fast-tracked tightening of monetary policy,’’ he said.

“That caused investors to drive up bond yields in late February and that in turn had the effect of pulling back share markets.

“However, over the full month Australian shares were still up 1.5 per cent. International shares advanced 2.7 per cent in hedged terms, but the appreciation of the Australian dollar reduced that gain to 1.6 per cent in unhedged terms.’’

Reflecting the rising yields, Australian and international bonds were down 3.6% and 1.6%, respectively, over the month.

“Share markets have risen in the first half of March and, as a result, we estimate that the median growth fund is up a further 2.3 per cent so far this month.

“That brings the return since the end of March last year to nearly 20 per cent, which is remarkable given the health concerns and economic damage caused by COVID-19.

“It also means that we’re more than 5 per cent above the pre-COVID crisis high that was reached at the end of January 2020.’’

The year to date return was also strong. The growth fund, where most people allocate their super, had a return of 10 per cent, balanced 7.1 per cent and high growth 12.4 per cent.

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