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  • Charlotte Tsang

Schroder's Insight


Governments around the world are already starting to make some significant changes in order to help our homes become net zero. When it comes to heating, many new homes in the UK and Europe will be required to change their gas boilers to electric heat pumps by 2030.Internet stocks face ongoing regulatory uncertainties, while consumer companies face a profit margin squeeze amid cost pressures and weak demand.In order to achieve its low-carbon economy target as soon as possible, it is expected that China’s focus on sustainability will only intensify. That increases the likelihood for the country to devote more support to the renewable energy sector on the policy front.What could have caused the sell-off? We think it’s largely been due to fears over a peaking of working-from-home demand and worries over mobile handset sales. There may also be a general slowdown in tech demand given the weaker global economic backdrop.Last December, the EC said it wants to move this target date forward, asking all new buildings to be zero-emissions by 2030, while offering various incentives and requiring new energy performance standards.

As such, investors can pay attention to companies driven by the respective change in supply and demand.Combined with top-down multi-asset tactical opportunities, it shall provide investors with defensive attributes as they capture long-term capital growth.Tsim Sha TsuiLooking through the current downturn, this area is where the real long-term value is in Asia.Under a volatile and complex investment environment, it becomes even more important for investors to agilely adjust their allocations to enhance the overall defensiveness of their portfolios. Multi-asset investment seems to be a viable solution to meet this purpose.BitmapBitmapBitmapBitmapBitmapBitmapFollowing the recent National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Chinese government has proposed measures for the construction of large-scale wind and solar power facilities and enhancements of power grids for renewable energy – all of which aims to drive green and low-carbon developments.For example, less than 2% of UK homes have any form of low carbon heating, but by 2050 the government wants to install over 19 million heat pumps across the country.China’s commitment to wind and solar power continuesLooking at the semiconductor industry as a whole, we would highlight its tendency to cluster. The real barrier to entry and intellectual property is years of accumulated expertise, integration and working with both customers and equipment suppliers (hence the cluster). Capital is not the main barrier to entry here – knowledge and relationships are.However, we believe renewable energy remains an attractive, long-term growth theme. Climate change is an imminent challenge, and renewable energy will play a key role in the future energy mix that could address this issue.Hankow RoadThat is why one of the targets of the European Green Deal is that by 2050 all existing buildings in Europe that are currently not energy efficient need to become climate neutral.This we can sympathise with, and we expect we will see a near-term slowdown in demand alongside some earnings downgrades. But we don’t think any of the long-term themes have changed.With various markets increasing their expenditure on green infrastructure, this could benefit companies involved in the energy transition story. Valuation of this sector has also come down to a reasonable level.Whilst China is already a major producer of wind and solar energy, with companies taking leadership positions in their areas, we believe there remains potential investment opportunities.Oversupply worries are overblownFor example, the move to electric vehicles and mobility will be one of the biggest and most capital-intensive transformations in recent economic history. In the US alone, 250 million internal combustion engine trucks and cars need to be replaced.‘Still, retrofitting existing homes is much harder, as a large majority of our homes still uses gas-fired boilers.Schroders CapitalPut together, heating, cooling and domestic hot water are responsible for 80% of the energy consumed by households.Many emerging markets have just begun their emission reduction process. Against this backdrop, more investments in areas such as renewable energy infrastructure to facilitate the transition are needed. In addition, the European Union is poised to continue its tightening of carbon allowances.

All the big trends we see in the world are hugely semiconductor-intensive, whether it is electric vehicles (EVs), smart grids, charging networks, connectivity, data usage, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud services, or automation. We’re closer to the beginning of this tech transition than we are to the end.What is more of a puzzle is why Asian semiconductor and technology stocks have fared quite so poorly. Such stocks generally met high expectations at the most recent quarterly earnings season.The infographic below shows what role a ‘net zero’ home has in the energy transition and the opportunities this brings to investors.This energy transition will not happen overnight. We think there remains significant investment opportunities, spanning different markets and industries. As such, we believe energy transition will continue to be a long-term investment theme.Among many urgent calls to cut European dependence on Russian fossil fuels, the initiative asks households to power up on more rooftop solar panels, heat pumps and energy savings.BentallGreenOakLofter GroupMarket trends in Asia this year have tended to see consumer, internet, semiconductor and technology stocks come under pressure.

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