Dividend drought to hit the UK

Luke Graham, News Assistant
Is a dividend drought about to hit the UK?

A slump in commodities prices and sluggish growth in some of the U.K.'s leading industrial sectors will hit investors' income in the coming months, according to industry experts.

Many large mining and oil companies, hit by the falling value of commodities, have had to cut or stop their dividend pay-outs to investors.

Zimmytws | Getty Images

Last year, underlying dividend growth in the U.K. was just 3.7 percent compared to global growth of 9.9 percent, according to this month's Henderson global dividend index report, which tracks company pay-outs around the world.

"Last year was a great year," said Ben Lofthouse, co-manager of Henderson global equity income fund. "We had 9.9 percent underlying dividend growth coming from companies around the world.

"If you are invested in that you are getting a growing income stream, but there are some tough sectors."

The problem for investors is that U.K. dividends are dominated by a few large companies, such as Shell and GlaxoSmithKline, which held their dividends flat last year.

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Falling oil prices have also had a negative impact.

"Oil is about 20 percent of the FTSE100 dividends," explained Lofthouse. "Oil dividends aren't going to grow very much this year."

However, dividend investors could look elsewhere to increase their income. The U.S. and Japan both grew payouts last year, according to the index report.

"Developed markets are actually quite strong," Lofthouse added. "Japan generated 20 percent dividend growth underlying last year, which was phenomenal."

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