Source - LSE Regulatory
RNS Number : 8799K
Ruffer Investment Company Limited
07 September 2021


(a closed-ended investment company incorporated in Guernsey with registration number 41996)

LEI 21380068AHZKY7MKNO47



Attached is a link to the Monthly Investment Report for August 2021.


During August the Company's net asset value (NAV) rose by 0.3% as the share price rose by 0.7%. This compared with a rise of 2.7% in the FTSE All-Share total return index.


In reviewing the month just gone there has been no predominant driver for our performance. Equities have provided a small positive return with the beneficiaries of reflation (and economic recovery) making back some of their losses from earlier in the summer. Inflation-linked bonds were broadly flat for the month after a last day fall of some 5% in the longest dated bonds in the UK. The fall was catalysed by comments from the European Central Bank reminding us that emergency policy may not be around forever. While this does not undermine the longer-term case for inflation-linked bonds (and they have performed very strongly in the last few months), it illustrates the short term dangers that we need to guard against.


There have been two competing forces at play in August. In simple terms this is the path of liquidity in financial markets versus the fundamentals of the real economy. It will likely be the interplay between these two forces that will dictate the path of markets for the remainder of the year.


Taking liquidity first. Financial conditions have remained plentiful, something most clearly illustrated by the fact that monthly inflows into equity funds in August exceeded the annual inflows for 13 out of the last 20 years - and this is during a month that is usually characterised by outflows. The market appears to have taken comfort from Jay Powell's comments at the Jackson Hole symposium that tapering will be gradual and that rates will remain nailed to the floor for some time. We agree that liquidity conditions will remain supportive, but we need to be cognisant of the risks of rising yields once the perennial buyer (central banks) steps away even marginally. For that reason, we have used the strong performance in bond markets in recent months to reduce the Company's duration to close to zero. Any rise in bond yields has the potential to be disruptive, therefore having a full allocation to swaptions (as we did throughout the first quarter) will likely be helpful for the remainder of the year. Although bond yields may not rise substantially, the extent to which the market is assuming they will not rise at all presents a risk - it is the certainty that is currently priced in which causes us concern.


The path of economic fundamentals has most obviously been influenced by the path of the delta variant. The data in Europe and the UK remains more encouraging than the US, but in both geographies we would argue that fears are likely overdone and the political appetite for widespread lockdowns is low. In that context the economic impulse through the remainder of the year could be very powerful. It is for this reason that we reinforced exposure to cyclical equities (primarily through energy companies) during the month.

Finally, when looking at the make-up of our equities healthcare remains a large allocation; the third largest after financials and energy. This sector looked undervalued during the presidential election when there were fears that a Democratic president would push for significant reform. With Biden's approval rating now dropping below that of Donald Trump at the end of his presidency, wide-ranging reform looks even less likely and these companies could rerate and perform well.





Praxis Fund Services Limited

Gail Adams

DDI: +44(0)1481 755584


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