Dividend growth soars in every major global region except Britain, figures show
21 August 2017
The Brexit-hit pound has ensured Britain is the only major global region to see dividend growth fall, while the rest of the world looks forward to a 1.2 trillion US dollar (£930 billion) bonanza.
Every region booked soaring dividend growth in the second quarter, with only the UK bucking the trend, according to the latest Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index.
UK dividends fell 3.5% on a headline basis to 32.5 billion dollars (£25.2 billion), thanks to the collapse in sterling following the country's decision to quit the EU.
The British currency has collapsed 14% against the dollar since last year's referendum, which means UK payments were translated into dollars at a less favourable exchange rate.
Other major countries including the US, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Korea, and even Indonesia, all enjoyed a knockout quarter, with dividends hitting new records.
Europe, excluding the UK, saw dividend growth accelerate 11% to 149.5 billion US dollars (£116 billion).
This improvement helped drive total global payouts up 5.4% year on year to 447.5 billion dollars (£347 billion), itself a new all-time quarterly record.
The strong second quarter and a strengthening global economy has led Janus Henderson to upgrade its full-year forecast for global dividends to 1.2 trillion US dollars (£930 billion), which means 2017 is set to be a record year.
Alex Crooke, head of global equity income at Janus Henderson, said: “The global economy is very supportive for company profits and dividends at present, and helped drive record payouts in many countries around the world.”
He added: “The first half of 2017 has been stronger than we expected, and the second half is looking promising too.”
On an underlying basis, dividend growth was 7.2%, with every region seeing an increase.
Even in the UK, growth on an underlying basis was strong at 6.1%, after the exchange rate and other factors were stripped out.
The acceleration marks a welcome return to the long-term trend rate of dividend growth, following a sluggish performance over the last couple of years.
Mr Crooke added: “Taking a global approach means a slowdown in any one part of the world has less impact on your overall income level, but investors will be pleased they are enjoying one of those periods when there is synchronised underlying dividend growth across all regions of the world.”
By sector, dividend growth was also strong across the board, with financials – in particular banks – accounting for half of the global headline increase.
Technology, industrials, and basic materials also showed strong growth, with only telecoms seeing a small decline in payouts.
Janus Henderson analysed dividends paid by the 1,200 largest firms by market capitalisation.