Thought Leadership Research

On a quarterly basis, Whitehelm publishes proprietary research on current issues facing the infrastructure sector, and addresses the potential implications and opportunities for clients as the issues relate to their investment portfolios

Research Listing

A Slew of Geopolitical Risks

A Slew of Geopolitical Risks

August 2018

Like it or not, geopolitical risk has come to dominate market sentiment again, from the worsening trade relationships between the US and China to the ongoing tension in the Middle East.   This month’s feature article provides an update on the current sources of geopolitical risk at the forefront of the world’s attention and its effects on financial market sentiment and behaviour.

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Trash or Treasure: WASTE TO ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE

Trash or Treasure: WASTE TO ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE

June 2018

Whilst embedded in the European psyche for many decades, increasing recognition of the benefits of waste to energy is now occurring on a more global scale.  This feature article explores the benefits and costs of waste to energy technology and how we are working with investors to appropriately structure their investments in this space.

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The Potential Pinch of the Royal Commission

The Potential Pinch of the Royal Commission

May 2018

The Australian Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has so far uncovered some rather unsavoury behaviour on behalf of the country’s most trusted financial institutions.  In this month’s feature article, we discuss the commission, as well as its likely implications for lending standards, the Australian economy and financial markets.

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The Art of the Trade Deal

The Art of the Trade Deal

April 2018

Donald Trump has been staunchly opposed to America’s trade agreements from the moment he announced his candidacy for President of the United States.  In this month’s feature article, we discuss why the tariffs he recently proposed, and the resulting escalation of trade-related tensions, could have severe downstream implications for the global economy and financial markets.

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Monetary Policy in a Synchronised World

Monetary Policy in a Synchronised World

March 2018

Over the past year, there has been an emergence of broad-based synchronised economic growth which has encouraged central banks to consider kickstarting their policy normalisation plans.  In this month’s feature article, we discuss why a higher interest rate environment will prove challenging for financial markets that have enjoyed a decade of highly stimulatory and supportive central bank policy.

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The Cryptocurrency Conundrum

The Cryptocurrency Conundrum

January 2018

Over the past couple of years, cryptocurrencies have been launched from obscurity into the spotlight.  In this month’s feature article, we delve into the relatively recent eye-watering returns of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, and explain why we have labelled it a bubble.

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Developed Asia Infrastructure

Developed Asia Infrastructure

December 2017

A significant demand / supply imbalance for large, core infrastructure assets in the traditional OECD markets of Europe and North America has compressed projected investment returns for private market investors. This article explores the merits of investing in Developed Asia infrastructure, a low-risk region that faces less competition.

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Amazon's Australian Agenda

Amazon's Australian Agenda

November 2017

Amazon is a titan of e-commerce, logistics, technology, hardware, data store and media, and it is expected to launch in Australia any day now.  We discuss why we consider Amazon’s business model will enable it to be a major market disruptor should other Australian retailers be resistant to investment and innovation.

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Toeing the Nuclear Line

Toeing the Nuclear Line

October 2017

Tension between North Korea and the United States has waxed and waned over the past several decades, but the fiery rhetoric between their leaders recently has ratcheted up the tension to all-time highs. We discuss the key risks of this situation escalating into anything more than a war of words between two of the world’s most unpredictable leaders.

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Opportunities in Emerging Markets

Opportunities in Emerging Markets

September 2017

Whilst emerging market economies are keen for private capital to invest in their many infrastructure projects, private investment to date has been relatively restrained.  We discuss the key risks that need to be overcome in order for emerging markets to get a bigger piece of the infrastructure allocation pie.

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THE FORCE OF AUTOMATION

THE FORCE OF AUTOMATION

August 2017

Digital technologies adopted in the workplace continue to surpass expectations, but the pace of development has also brought up some difficult issues, primarily the falling demand for lower to middle class workers who are unskilled and do routine work.  We discuss the headwinds that such issues will have for global economic growth, productivity and labour markets.

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THE FED IS FORGING AHEAD

THE FED IS FORGING AHEAD

July 2017

The US Federal Reserve has increased the federal funds rate twice so far this year. Economic data at the start of the year was strong and justified the rate increases, but it has turned softer as of late. We discuss the risks of the Fed forging ahead with monetary tightening despite low inflation and low growth.

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SUBPRIME LESSONS NOT LEARNED

SUBPRIME LESSONS NOT LEARNED

June 2017

Fiscal initiatives, cheap credit and moral hazard have caused a 46% increase in auto debt in the US since 2008.  We discuss why the recent increase in subprime delinquencies is worrying, as well as why the likely implications will not be as severe as those in the subprime mortgage market during the financial crisis.

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CHINA’S CREDIT CONUNDRUM

CHINA’S CREDIT CONUNDRUM

May 2017

China’s debt to GDP ratio has risen from 144% in 2007 to 260% today, in large part because the country has become addicted to credit to meet its lofty growth targets. We explore whether China’s debt pile is sustainable over the medium to long term, and the potential implications.

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Populism on the rise

Populism on the rise

April 2017

The results of the UK referendum and the recent US presidential election proved that there has been a notable shift in the political world order. Several important European elections are slated for 2017, and we discuss why the French election is the one that could have the most severe ramifications.

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Disruptive Renewables

Disruptive Renewables

March 2017

The rise in electricity generation from renewable sources has had a materially negative impact on global electricity generation utilities. We explore the fresh challenges, including the so-called death spiral, facing the Australian electricity transmission and distribution network over the medium to long term.

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A Red-Hot Housing Sector

A Red-Hot Housing Sector

March 2017

House prices in Australia are expensive on a wide range of valuation measures, including historical experience and relative to the nation’s peers. We explore the potential triggers, as well as the economic and financial market impacts, of a correction or a collapse in the property market.

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The outlook for emerging markets equity

The outlook for emerging markets equity

February 2017

During calendar year 2016, emerging market equity hit a turning point, after several years of poor performance. We discuss the improving fundamentals of some of the most prominent emerging market countries, as well as the impact that recent geopolitical events could have on the asset class going forward.

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THE TRUMP RALLY

THE TRUMP RALLY

January 2017

Since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, global equity markets have continued to rally strongly, while bond markets have been punished. We address what is causing this market rotation, the potential for it to continue, as well as the macroeconomic and financial market implications.

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The Future of Renewables

The Future of Renewables

December 2016

Australia reaffirmed its commitment to reducing the impacts of global climate change through its ratification of the Paris Agreement. We explore the knock-on implications of such a commitment for renewable energy investments, as well as for investors and shareholders on a forward-looking basis.

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HEDGE FUNDS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

HEDGE FUNDS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

November 2016

Can hedge funds provide a similar return outcome to infrastructure investments? Should investors be indifferent between allocating capital between these two types of investments?

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Regulatory Change is Afoot

Regulatory Change is Afoot

November 2016

The implementation of the Basel Accords in Australia as well as the recommendations from the government’s 2014 Financial Inquiry have stimulated significant change in the regulatory landscape of the financial sector. We discuss the impact that such changes have had and will continue to have on investment strategy.

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Are Central Banks Shooting Blanks?

Are Central Banks Shooting Blanks?

October 2016

Unconventional monetary policy practices have been used by some of the world’s most prominent central banks over the past decade. We discuss the effectiveness of such policies, as well as the ways in which central banks can avoid being left without any ammunition to deal with future economic challenges.

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Disruptive Renewables

Disruptive Renewables

September 2016

The rise in electricity generation from renewable sources has had a materially negative impact on global electricity generation utilities. We explore the fresh challenges, including the so-called death spiral, facing the Australian electricity transmission and distribution network over the medium to long term.

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INFRASTRUCTURE PRIVATISATIONS

INFRASTRUCTURE PRIVATISATIONS

August 2016

There is a wave of anti-privatisation in the air and it has cost dearly those governments throughout the world who are persistent on selling state assets to reduce burdening government debt.

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HAS THE INFRASTRUCTURE DEBT SHIP SAILED?

HAS THE INFRASTRUCTURE DEBT SHIP SAILED?

July 2016

Burdened by significant debt, many infrastructure and ‘infrastructure-like’ assets struggled through the financial squeeze of 2008 and 2009. However, since then, capital has been pouring back into the asset class as investors search for stable cash flows in a low yielding investment environment.

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