A new chapter for emerging markets?

As emerging markets (EMs) rapidly resume economic activity, more measured stimulus actions and early tapering contrast with developed markets (DMs). With compelling valuations that historically have been highly supportive, this creates the opportunity for EMs to deliver more sustainable returns.

2 Sept 2021

11 Minutes

Archie Hart

The fast view:

  • After a ten-year relative bear market, we are at the point of maximum pain for EM. The outlook could look brighter in 12 to 18 months as the vaccine roll out gathers pace.
  • EMs are experiencing a rapid resumption of economic activity. Combined with EM central bankers tapering policy support, this creates an opportunity for these markets to carve out more sustainable returns than in developed markets (DM).
  • EM companies are in much stronger strategic and financial positions than in the past and are run more by entrepreneurs and professional managers. Technology accounts for a larger proportion of the universe, while state-owned and natural resources companies have shrunk.
  • Current valuations are compelling and historically have been highly supportive for the asset class, with a significant catch up opportunity relative to DM.
  • The global roll-out of 5G, remote working driving cloud investment, the renewable energy transition and the acceleration of decarbonisation are all trends that we believe will drive the long-term potential of EM companies. Our 4Factor approach aims to uncover these to deliver long-term alpha for our clients.

Blood in the streets

The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets...
Baron Nathan Rothschild (1777 - 1836)

This is one of the most famous quotes in finance, yet the less familiar and rather more uncomfortable rest of this refrain is: “… even if it is your own”. As EM investors, many of us will currently identify more closely with the latter sentiment – and there may be more volatility to come before markets settle. However, as we are now seeing words like “uninvestable” applied to parts of the asset class, we think it is worth revisiting the outlook for EMs.

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All investments carry the risk of capital loss.

Specific risks. Currency exchange: Changes in the relative values of different currencies may adversely affect the value of investments and any related income. Derivatives: The use of derivatives is not intended to increase the overall level of risk. However, the use of derivatives may still lead to large changes in value and includes the potential for large financial loss. A counterparty to a derivative transaction may fail to meet its obligations which may also lead to a financial loss. Equity investment: The value of equities (e.g. shares) and equity-related investments may vary according to company profits and future prospects as well as more general market factors. In the event of a company default (e.g. insolvency), the owners of their equity rank last in terms of any financial payment from that company. Emerging market (inc. China): These markets carry a higher risk of financial loss than more developed markets as they may have less developed legal, political, economic or other systems.

Authored by

Archie Hart
Portfolio Manager

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