Emerging Markets

(Beijing)

Something monumental, and very troubling, happened in China his week. The central committee there recommended scrapping the two-term limit for leaders, meaning Xi Jinping will stay in power indefinitely. This has “has put us back 30 years”, said one Chinese commentator close to the situation. One Australian academic comments that “We’ve had so many steps backwards [under Xi] … Media controls have become stricter, internet controls have become stricter. And now one of the few seemingly effective checks on a senior leader’s power — that he can only be in power for two terms — is now just being completely cast aside”.


FINSUM: Even for a country with no elections this seems quite authoritarian. We don’t suspect any immediate fallout, but this could be a slow-building drama.

(Riyadh)

For those who aren’t aware, there have been some major sweeping changes in Saudi Arabia over the last few days. In a broad move to consolidate power, The Saudi Arabian king’s son has had dozens of princes throughout the country arrested. The arrests are being done as part of an anti-corruption drive by Prince Mohammed, but they are raising international eyebrows about the business climate in the country, especially as Prince Mohammed has said he will bring great reform. The big flurry of arrests also come just prior to the IPO of state oil company Saudi Aramco, and many think these moves will accelerate the outflows from Saudi assets which have already been occurring.


FINSUM: This seems like a very counterintuitive move from a prince who says he wants to reform the country and transition it away from reliance on the oil sector. Saudi Aramco just took a huge valuation hit.

(New York)

The bull run in US stocks is getting long in the tooth by any standard. While stocks are still very strong, valuations are high and fears over a correction or bear market abound. However, the bull market in emerging markets looks like it is just beginning. Bank of America thinks that emerging market stocks may double in the next two years as this current run looks similar to previous ones. EM stocks have risen 60% since early 2016, but many fear the tensions in North Korea could end the run. On the contrary, Bank of America thinks prices will keep moving higher and will only eventually be derailed by recession or overvaluation.


FINSUM:Emerging markets did not have nearly the gains that US stocks had over the last five years or so and now might be their time to break out.

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