Emerging-Markets’ Prospects Bright, Even If Risks Never Far Away
For all the risks of a year-end cooling-off period, emerging-market backers can’t complain about the lie of the land right now.
From the rollout of vaccination programs in some countries to rising commodity prices and the prospect of a breakthrough in U.S. stimulus talks, there are plenty of tailwinds to justify the buying spree that has sent gauges of developing-nation stocks, currencies and bonds to five straight weeks of gains. Inflows into emerging markets reached a monthly record in November according to the Institute of International Finance and exchange-traded funds last week received the most money since January.
“Low interest rates, increased conversation about stimulus and a ‘flight-to-quality’ unwind with progress on the Covid vaccine should keep the U.S. dollar dropping, which should be a boost to equities,” said Malcolm Dorson, a New York-based money manager at Mirae Asset Global Investments, whose $1.1 billion Mirae Asset Emerging Markets Great Consumer Fund, which Dorson helps oversee, has outperformed 91% of peers over the past three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The risks, as ever, are never far away. Renewed U.S.-China tensions cast a pall on the market Monday.
Aside from the continued spread of Covid-19, traders will also be keeping an eye on any signs that the global recovery may be faltering, with many developing economies getting low on firepower to cushion the blow from another shock. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says the tactical upside in emerging markets may be more muted from here, even as it turns more positive on the 2021 outlook for high-yielding currencies such as the South African rand, Mexican peso and Indian rupee.
Still, the growing conviction that emerging markets are poised for further gains in 2021 will continue to sustain investor interest, according to Citigroup Inc. Central banks, too, may be less minded to cut interest rates as activity picks up in some of the hardest-hit economies. A report on Tuesday may show South Africa’s economy exited its longest recession in almost three decades in the third quarter. Policy makers in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Ukraine are forecast to keep rates on hold this week.
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