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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Irish pensions suffer worst month since 2008

Published 04/09/2015 | 02:30

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), arrives for a news conference to announce the bank's interest rate decision at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Draghi claimed the first successes for his quantitative easing program, and played down concerns that the European Central Bank will struggle to implement it fully. Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg
Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), arrives for a news conference to announce the bank's interest rate decision at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Draghi claimed the first successes for his quantitative easing program, and played down concerns that the European Central Bank will struggle to implement it fully. Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

The fallout from the Chinese market crash hit Irish pension funds with the biggest investment losses since the the 2008 financial crash in August.

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Irish pension managed funds had negative returns last month, suffering average losses of 5.9pc, according to Rubicon Investment Consulting, which monitors returns across the sector.

Irish pension funds suffered as trillions of euro globally was wiped off the value of stocks, bonds and commodities on fears over China's economic slow down prompted mass investment sell-offs.

Setanta Asset Management outperformed its peers last month but returns were still down 4.2pc in August while funds managed by Friends First/F&C suffered the biggest monthly drop at 6.9pc.

Despite the recent turbulance managed pension funds here are still well up since the start of the year, however, according to Rubicon.

Amid the wider markets fallout the European Central Bank (ECB) cut its growth and inflation forecasts yesterday.

It warned of possible further trouble from China and paved the way for an expansion of its already massive €1 trillion plus quantitive easing (QE) programme.

The ECB, which left interest rates unchanged in a widely expected decision, said growth would suffer from fading momentum in emerging markets, particularly China, and falling oil prices could drag the 19-member Eurozone back into deflation in the coming months.

The new projections are a stark admission that Europe's recovery, described by the bank as disappointing, is failing to gain momentum.

The ECB said it was holding its €60bn a month QE target to buy assets, but raised the amount of any one issue it could buy to 33pc from 25pc.

The ECB said inflation was not rising as quickly as it had planned and that the euro zone economy was not recovering at the pace expected.

"The risks to the euro area growth outlook remain on the downside reflecting in particular the heightened uncertainties related to the external environment.

"Notably current developments in emerging market economies have the potential to further affect global growth adversely via trade and confidence effects," ECB President Mario Draghi, inset, said.

He also repeated a pledge to change the QE bond-buying programe if necessary.

The ECB has been buying €60bn worth of assets, mostly government bonds, each month since March in a bid to revive economic growth by pumping cash into the economy. It plans to continue the purchases for another 12 months with a target to lift inflation to close to 2pc.

China's move in August to devalue its currency and historically low oil prices make the ECB inflation target ever more challenging.

(Additional reporting Reuters).

Irish Independent

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