The Original Tigers
Eoin Treacy's view The ASEAN group of countries were among the best performers from their 2008
lows but had become quite overextended relative to their trend means earlier
this year and have since experienced their largest reactions in the course of
the medium-term bull market. They have spent the last few months ranging mostly
below their respective overhead top formations and more time is probably required
to build support and revive confidence.
Thailand can be considered a representative example. The SET Index rallied from 400 to test the 1994 peak between 2008 and April this year. It has since pulled back and continues to range below 1500.
The outperformance of some of Asia's high growth overshadowed their more developed neighbours which have moved to positions of outperformance and are now breaking out in absolute terms. Against a background of short-term overbought conditions on many global stock markets this remains impressive considering the length of time spent ranging, but some consolidation cannot be ruled out.
South Korea pulled back sharply in 2011 and spent the last two years ranging mostly below 2000. It broke successfully back above that level earlier this month and a sustained move below 2025 would now be required to question medium-term upside potential. The US and UK listed iShares South Korea Index ETFs have broadly similar patterns.
Taiwan experienced a similarly deep pullback in 2011 but has exhibited more of an upward bias within its range since mid-2012. The Index moved to a new 2-year high today and a break in the progression of higher reaction lows would be required to question potential for additional upside. The banking sector has outperformed for much of the year.
The US listed Taiwan Fund trades at a discount to NAV of almost 10%. It continues to rally towards its 2011 and 2007 peaks near $20. While it is becoming increasingly overextended, a break in the progression of higher reaction lows would be required to question medium-term upside potential.
Singapore outperformed both South Korea and Taiwan from the late 2011 lows but caught contagion from the wider ASEAN region from May and continues to range above 3000. A sustained move above 3300 would suggest a return to demand dominance beyond the short term. The Singapore Financial Index has held more of its previous advance and continues to consolidate mostly above the 2011 peaks near 800. The US listed iShares MSCI Singapore Index Fund has encountered resistance near $14 on a number of occasions since 2011. It has returned to test that level once more but will to hold a breakout to reconfirm medium-term demand dominance.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has been confined to a volatile range since late 2010; encountering resistance near 24,000 on successive occasions. It has returned to retest that area but will need to sustain a move above it to suggest a return to medium-term demand dominance. The UK listed Invesco Perpetual Hong Kong & China Fund has a management fee of 1.5% and a front end load of 5%. It consolidated above the 2007 and 2011 highs from March and broke out in August.