THE ABERDEEN Asset Management-run Murray International Trust delivered a significantly reduced net asset value total return during the 2017 calendar year although the portfolio still managed to outperform its benchmark by just under two percentage points.

Over the 12 months the trust, which invests mainly in global equities and has a bias towards emerging economies, made a NAV return of 14.7 per cent, down from 40.3% in 2016.

While that outstripped the 12.8% t return made by the trust’s benchmark, which is weighted 40% to the FTSE World UK Index and 60% to the FTSE World ex-UK Index, the amount of outperformance was significantly lower than in 2016, when the benchmark grew by 25.8%.

According to manager Bruce Stout, the trust’s exposure to emerging markets drove much of the portfolio’s performance over the year.

“Asia provided the strongest regional equity market returns in sterling terms, up 20.3% over the period,” he said.

“Behind the benchmark strength, Indonesia and Taiwan contributed most from a portfolio perspective, although aggregate regional performance was tempered by the exposure’s income bias.

“Currency weakness in Latin America capped overall benchmark returns to just over 10%, but portfolio exposure delivered considerably more.

“Powerful performance from Mexican, Brazilian and Chilean holdings contributed most to overall absolute and relative performance.”

Chilean chemical company Sociedad Quimica Y Minera de Chile was the greatest contributor to the portfolio’s overall performance while British satellite business Inmarsat was the greatest detractor.

Looking ahead, Mr Stout said “great scepticism is warranted” about what might happen in the global economy.

As a result, he said his investment focus would “continue to emphasise strong company balance sheets and realistic profit expectations, predominately in companies operationally exposed to countries around the world with sustainable, domestic, growth dynamics”.

The board is recommending a total dividend for the year of 50p, representing an increase of 5.3% on the 47.5p paid in 2016.