Posts Tagged ‘emerging markets’

Why regional mkts are tanking & why it’s a risky moment

In Financial competency on 22/08/2013 at 4:50 am

Thailand and S’pore have lost all its 2013 gains. Indonesia in now into bear territory, and M’sia is now being targeted. Why

But first the good news.The sell-off isn’t Asean specific. It is affecting all emerging mkts. Explanation below.

There is also a technical reason for the markets’ moodiness: August is when most ang moh traders and fund mgrs go to on hols. This means lesser volume, and hence more volatility. And for those jnr staff left on duty, the standing order is “Avoid risk. Sell when you think others will sell or are selling”.

Now for the financial hard truths.

On the bit why regional (and other emerging) mkts are tanking, it’s the fault of US Fed. Explanation:

When a central bank buys certain kinds of assets they leave the banks or funds who sold them the assets short of the particular kind of asset the central bank bought. So a fund that intends to keep a certain share of its portfolio in safe-ish long-term debt will sell Treasuries to the Fed in exchange for newly printed cash, but will then find itself in need of portfolio rebalancing to get back to its preferred distribution of risk, maturity, and so on. The fund then takes its cash and buys something similar to the assets it sold: highly rated mortgage-backed securities or corporates, for instance, or the safe debt of foreign governments. But the funds selling those assets will also need to rebalance, and they may adjust their portfolios by purchasing safer emerging-market debt or equities. As the money works its way through the system it raises asset prices around the economy. And because some of the rebalancing involves purchases of foreign assets, they weaken the domestic currency and can reduce borrowing costs and raise equity prices abroad.

That was the effect of Fed’s policy of “printing money” or QE programme.

Now fast-forward a couple of years. Financial markets had been moving money around based on expectations that central banks would end up buying a very large chunk of assets. But beginning in the spring Federal Reserve officials made statements hinting that they would in fact end up buying a somewhat smaller chunk of assets. As financial markets began to react to the change in outlook, the previous stimulative effects of QE started to unwind. As funds realised they would not need to replace as many Treasuries as they thought, Treasury prices fell (and yields rose) and so did prices for Treasury substitutes. That knock-on effect made its way around the world. Prices of emerging-market assets also sank, as did emerging-market currencies.

As to why it’s a risk moment:

To simplify things: QE was pro-cyclical for emerging markets but counter-cyclical for advanced economies and was probably beneficial on net. Now the end of QE may prove pro-cyclical in emerging markets (exacerbating ongoing slowdowns) but is also pro-cyclical or at best neutral in advanced economies (since tightening is occurring amid a continued demand shortfall). And so the end of QE may well be quite negative on net.

It would be extremely premature to warn of disaster. Rich-world central banks may react to market stumbles by pushing back the start of tapering, and emerging economies may avoid overzealous rate increases in the face of sinking currencies. But the world has reached a risky moment. Though advanced economies are a long way from full recovery and emerging economies are slowing, central banks are almost uniformly moving toward a tightening bias. If policymakers aren’t careful, things could end badly.

If you must invest, look for stocks that pay decent dividends that are sustainable. As for reits, I remain cautious, though the recent price falls do look tempting.

HSBC’s view of emerging mkts

In Africa, China, Economy, Emerging markets on 09/11/2010 at 6:04 am

Mkts are flying what with Aug- Oct passing without a mkt collapse and the Fed pumping money into the system. Time to join the party. I’ve sat on the sidelines so far this yr, so I’ll sit on my hands a bit longer. Must admit its hard not to want to do something.

The CEO of HSBC, said late last week, there were likely to be “some bumps in the road ahead” in developing countries, especially in China. Reminder: HSBC generates most of its earnings growth in Asia.

“Our latest data from emerging markets points to a slowdown in the rate of recovery,” he said in a statement. But the bank added that it still expected growth in the region to outpace that of the developed world for the foreseeable future.

He gave a positive outlook for the rest of the year, saying that “the global economy is in better shape than many expected a year ago.” But that “while fears of a double dip in the West may be overplayed, the passage from downturn to upturn is clearly taking longer than previous cycles.”

HSBC said pretax profit in the third quarter was “well ahead” of the period a year earlier, as reserves for bad loans reached its lowest quarterly level since early 2007. Its lending business in the United States accounted for the biggest share of improvements. Business in October was “in line with third-quarter trends,” HSBC said. HSBC does not give detailed earnings figures on a quarterly basis.

The investment banking unit of HSBC also reported a drop in trading. HSBC said performance of the business was “robust although trading activity was lower.”

Juz when you tot it was safe II

In Emerging markets on 30/04/2010 at 5:20 am

Another emerging market bear. GMO’s founder Jeremy Grantham has a good track record*.  He called the recent crisis correctly in a timely manner. FT reports:

His candidates for potential bubbles are emerging markets and commodities. The former is a no-brainer: “it’s correct; they will have better GDP [growth]”. He does not think valuations will go as high as in Japan or on internet stocks, but a 50 per cent premium is possible. “Let’s say the market at 15 [price/earnings ratio] and these guys at 22.5.”

Should investors try to grab a piece of that, or steer clear? Mr Grantham would personally like to join in, “as an individual”. But he is not certain it is a good policy. The question is, “if you want to buy bargains, when do you knowingly overpay a bit, because you see a queue of people outside ready to buy?

“We haven’t settled that internally. We like the idea of exclusively playing the long-term winning bets. Why mess around with the secondary considerations?”

The question is even harder to answer with regard to commodities. The story here is “we’re running out of everything” but it is a long-run story beyond the time horizon of most clients. Investors can probably make money, “but the tricky problem is overpaying upfront. The price has shifted.Those with a genuine 10-20-year horizon “should own people who own the resources”, because there is no money in processing, only in ownership.

*His record:

His  GMO forecasts rank asset classes in order of expected real return, and Mr Grantham is particularly pleased with the 10-year forecast ending December 2009.

This had US Reits (real estate investment trusts) at the top of the list followed by emerging market equities, and the S&P 500 at the bottom in 11th place. In the event, emerging market equities did best, returning 8.1 per cent a year after inflation (the forecast was 7.8 per cent), Reits were third with 7.4 per cent (10.0 per cent), and the S&P was last with -3.5 per cent (-1.9 per cent). The ranking of the assets in between was almost spot on. The probability of getting that right by chance was 1 in 550,000, says Mr Grantham.

Just when you tot it was safe

In China, Economy, Emerging markets, India, Indonesia on 29/04/2010 at 5:18 am

Thinking of starting to  invest seriously in emerging markets? Standard Chartered warns of bubble in emerging markets. Extract from Guardian article:

Gerard Lyons, chief economist at Standard Chartered, said Asia was the main recipient of western capital, but there was also evidence of speculative activity in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa.

A combination of a prolonged period of low interest rates in the west and strong growth in emerging markets meant the money would continue to flow in. “The size of the flows could become more significant,” he added. “There is a significant risk, even though it is a consequence of economic success.”

The report noted that many countries did not have the capacity to absorb the capital inflows, with the result that the money boosted share and property prices, adding to inflationary pressures.

“The longer it takes to address this, the bigger the problem will be. Just as excess liquidity contributed to problems in the western developed economies ahead of the financial crisis, excess liquidity has the potential to cause fresh economic and financial problems across the emerging world.”

Massive flows of capital from emerging economies, especially those in Asia, helped to inflate the asset bubbles in the west that led to the financial crash of 2007. Standard Chartered said global liquidity flows had now reversed, with emerging economies now on the receiving end. Recipients included countries with current account surpluses such as China, and those running current account deficits such as Vietnam and India.

Lyons said China was the emerging economy investors were looking at for signs of trouble. “China is not a bubble economy but it is an economy with bubbles.” But he added that the problem was not confined to Asia, and that hedge funds were now looking at “frontier markets” in Africa.

While emerging markets needed foreign direct investment to help them grow, Standard Chartered said the influx of hot money was a big worry. “Although hot money is regarded as temporary, it persists until the incentive to speculate is eliminated.”

Oh and there is the Greek crisis. 2008, here we come again?