Market Overview

Market Overview – March Quarter 2023

Key highlights

  • All investment options delivered positive returns and the Triple S Balanced Default Option returned 4.3%.
  • Australian and international equity markets returned 3.3% and 9.2%, respectively. 
  • Bonds markets delivered a positive return despite high level of volatility in the market.
  • There are signs inflation has peaked. Over the 12 months to March, the Australian Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased from 7.8% to 7%.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) increased the cash rate to 3.6% (increasing to 3.85% on 2 May 2023).

Triple S returns to 31 March 2023

Investment option

 3 months

   1 year

 3 years
  % p.a.

  5 years
  % p.a.

 10 years
   % p.a.







Capital Defensive


















Socially Responsible












High Growth






Returns net of fees and gross of tax, based on Super SA unit pricing formula.

Economic update

The RBA continued its hiking cycle through the March quarter, increasing the cash rate to 3.6% in its effort to slow inflation. 12-month CPI (a common indicator of inflation) decreased in March from 7.8% to 7% there are signs the impact of higher interest rates are flowing through to households and dampening consumer demand. However, at the time of writing, the RBA increased the cash rate a further 0.25% to 3.85% noting that while “inflation in Australia has passed its peak, 7% is still too high.” The US Federal Reserve (the Fed) also continued to increase interest rates, but decreased the amount from 0.50% to 0.25% in response to softening inflation data.

During March, three US regional banks collapsed and a European bank Credit Suisse was taken over by UBS. This raised widespread concerns over bank failures and increased the probability of a recession, causing short-term volatility across investment markets. Regulators in the US and Europe were quick to act and seemed to have contained the risks from spreading across the economy. Although the bank failures created volatility, quick action from regulators helped investment markets maintain positive returns for the quarter.

Australian equities

Australian shares (S&P/ASX 300 Index) continued their recent gains and delivered a positive return of 3.3% over the quarter. The Materials sector, which includes mining, was a strong contributor. This was largely due to China re-opening because Australia is a major commodity exporter to China, and this caused commodity prices to significantly increase. The Financial sector was weaker and produced negative returns, somewhat impacted by weak sentiment in the global banking sector.

International equities

Global developed market equities returned 9.2% over the quarter. Performance was largely driven by US equities with much of the market benefiting from the expectation that the Fed will stop increasing rates, particularly big technology companies. The turmoil in the global banking sector caused equity markets caused equity markets to fall sharply in March, however, the recovery was quick after regulators acted swiftly to stabilise the banking system and provide confidence to markets.

Global emerging market equities also delivered a positive return, with Asian equities returns being particularly strong. Asian markets were supported by China’s reopening and the easing of regulatory pressures on the internet sector by the Chinese government. By contrast, tensions between the US and China re-escalated when a Chinese high-altitude balloon was shot down in US airspace.

Fixed interest

Bond markets were volatile but delivered a positive return over the quarter. Volatility occurred in March following weaker inflation data, signs there may be a recession, and a resulting increase in the expectation that central banks may decrease rates sooner. Markets were volatile because decreasing cash rates are a positive for bond prices.


The Cash asset class returned 0.8%. The interest earned on cash moved higher over the quarter as the RBA continued to increase the cash rate.

We encourage our members to seek financial advice before making any changes to their superannuation investments.  If you need help locating one, you can contact the Financial Planning Association of Australia. 

The information in the article above has been prepared in good faith by Funds SA. However, Funds SA does not warrant the accuracy of the information and to the extent permitted by law, disclaims responsibility for any loss or damage of any nature whatsoever which may be suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying upon it whether that loss or damage is caused by any fault or negligence of Funds SA or otherwise. The information is not intended to constitute advice and persons should seek professional advice before relying on the information.