Australia led the way in the Asia Pacific region for dividend growth among listed companies in the past 12 months, according to the latest figures in the Henderson Global Dividend Index, a report from fund manager Henderson Global Investors.
Australian dividends, in US-dollar terms, rose 2.4 per cent in the March quarter compared to the same quarter last year, to US$9.1 billion. But this was prior to a $1 billion positive adjustment for the declining Aussie dollar during that time. The total for Asia Pacific, after excluding special dividends, was down 5.0 per cent, which was also partly offset by a 1.6 percentage points adjustment for currency. If special dividends, mainly from two Hong Kong companies, were included, the total for Asia Pacific would have been up 10.7 per cent. Emerging markets in total saw dividends falling by 14.6 per cent on a year-on-year basis before currency adjustments.
Generally speaking, with a global search for yield, 2014 has been tipped as a year for high dividend growth among major companies around the world.
The report, to be published today (Monday) said: “We started the year optimistic that 2014 was set to be a good one for income investors. With more than half the annual total now paid, and with strong growth emanating from across the developed world, we are positive that this year will see the best growth since 2011. Only this time without the very large artificial boost provided by the weak dollar in that year. That means investors in a range of currencies should enjoy dividend growth, not just those based in US dollars. On the current trajectory it is conceivable the world’s listed companies will pay out $100bn more this year than in 2013.”
The index was launched by Henderson as an analytical tool in 2009, where it was set at 100. It had risen to 157.8 by the end of March this year, meaning dividends were 57.8 per cent higher over the past 12 months than they were in 2009.