- Global dividends reach $288.1bn, a new Q3 record
- Headline growth of 3.8% year on year masks a rapid 9.7% underlying increase
- US, Emerging Markets, Asia Pacific and Europe all show double digit underlying growth
- Seasonal peak for Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific sees China and Taiwan leading their groups
After adjusting for currency movements and one-offs, underlying dividend growth was 9.7% year on year, in line with the strong expansion seen in the first half of the year. On an underlying basis, the US, Europe, Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific ex Japan all achieved impressive double-digit dividend increases, while the UK, Canada and Japan lagged behind. The Henderson Global Dividend Index ended the quarter at 159.
For the full year, Henderson Global Investors expects dividends to reach $1.19 trillion, a headline increase of 12.6% (underlying +10.6%). For 2015, the Henderson’s preliminary forecast is $1.24 trillion for global dividends. Next year’s expected headline increase (4.2%) is slower than the underlying 7.2%, mainly because Vodafone will not repeat its record $26bn special dividend.
The US remained the main engine of global dividend growth in Q3 2014. US firms paid out $87.4bn, 10.8% more year on year (underlying).
Dividend growth is coming from almost every sector in the US, with financials looking particularly strong. For the year to date, US financials have already distributed double what they did in the whole of 2010. By comparison, in the rest of the world, dividend payments from financials have increased just 12.1%, indicating how quickly the industry in the US has recovered from the financial crisis.
Seasonally, Q3 is the most important quarter for Emerging Markets, particularly for China, which pays out nine tenths of its annual total in the period. Underlying Emerging Market dividend growth of 11.0% to a total of $58.4bn was strong in comparison to recent quarters. With China accounting for almost half the total, its 14% underlying growth was key to the Emerging Markets’ successful performance. Russia saw flat headline dividends with underlying growth eroded by the plunging rouble. Q3 is also the seasonal peak for Asia Pacific, which grew 10.3% (underlying), with Taiwan leading the region.
Q3 is a seasonally small quarter for dividend payments both in Europe (which extended Q2’s double-digit gains on an underlying basis) and in Japan. The UK is typically a big payer in Q3, but lagged behind other countries, as headline growth translated into an underlying decline once the gains from a strong pound were stripped out.
Alex Crooke, Head of Global Equity Income at Henderson Global Investors said: “2014 will break a new record for global dividends. The third quarter has extended the rapid growth in income that investors have been enjoying from their shares in 2014, and we are confident of double digit growth for the full year. The US is particularly impressive, as American firms increase dividend payouts helped by rising profits. Globally, investors should reap approximately $133 billion more in dividends this year than last.
“Despite the uncertain outlook for economic growth in 2015, we expect another good year of dividend growth, albeit at a slower rate than this year. A global approach to income investing continues to offer investors an attractive mix of opportunity and diversification.”