Emerging Markets

(Caracas)

Venezuela has been in a state of protest and disarray for the last couple of years. Chaos may be a more appropriate term. However, this article argues a much scarier new term is emerging: civil war. The country has suffered from inflation and a lack of basic goods, which have spawned increasingly intense protests from those demonstrating against Maduro’s government. Now things have worsened to the point where an all-out civil war may emerge. “We’re seeing much larger masses protesting across all major cities, including the working-class neighborhoods” where Maduro used to enjoy support, says a retired Venezuelan general formerly in charge of putting down such unrest. “The government is losing control”, he continued.


FINSUM: It is hard to discern what impact this may have on the US political and investment climate. It does seem the US would be more inclined/obligated to get involved given the closer proximity of the country. The oil market would probably gain on the prospect of decreased supply from Venezuela.

Source: Wall Street Journal

(Istanbul)

Most investors will be relatively happy with the way US markets have performed over the last few months. However, this piece points out that the really big gains of 2017 have been in emerging markets. As a whole, developed market equities have returned just half the 12.4% that emerging market equities have offered so far this year. The returns are great in bonds too as a basket of emerging market bonds has risen 7.4%, triple the global benchmark. Emerging stocks looks cheap right now as the MSCI Emerging Markets Index trades at 12.3x earnings compared to 16.6x in developed markets.


FINSUM: It looks like there are some very good opportunities out there in the emerging world, but beware of the currency risk and governance issues that one faces once they get into emerging market stocks.  

Source: Bloomberg

(Beijing)

Many investors may keep at least a watchful eye on the Chinese economy. While bears have been saying the country was going to see its economy fall apart for years, this article shines some light on the trouble the nation might have moving forward. Chinese wages, on average, are now higher than Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, and are approaching pay levels in weaker European countries like Greece and Portugal. The wage gains mean that the country has largely started to converge with the West, while many other emerging markets have not.


FINSUM: Its success may be its downfall, as higher wages will not help sustain the huge manufacturing boom that powered the country’s growth. When you combine the logistical advantages of manufacturing in the Americas or Europe with potential wage savings, China’s competitive advantages seemingly disappear.

Source: Financial Times

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