Wall Street has been quick to dismiss the whole idea of the emerging markets decoupling from the developed world, especially the United States. Perhaps the whole idea was dismissed too quickly, giving investors an opportunity for profit.
Even if America’s economy remains weak, there are signs that some of the larger emerging economies could see decent economic growth. Exhibit A of this new decoupling is China. Most economists agree that output will grow faster than seemed plausible only a few months ago. Economists now believe that growth could be close to 8% this year.
India’s growth estimates have also been ratcheted higher. This optimism about economic growth has fueled a rally in commodity prices which in turn has brightened the outlook for Brazil and other commodity producing countries. Brazil is under review to have its credit rating upgraded to ‘investment grade’ because of its resilience to the current global financial crisis.
That being said, even the best performing countries will grow more slowly than they did over the past several years. The emerging market resilience will not be universal either. Eastern Europe’s indebted countries will suffer as global banks cut back and emerging economies intertwined with the US, such as Mexico, will continue to be hit hard. So will smaller, trade-dependent countries. So the new decoupling is much more narrowly focused and confined to the biggest and definitely, the least indebted emerging economies.
The biggest emerging economies are less dependent on American spending than commonly believed. For example, over half of China’s exports go to other emerging economies. These large emerging economies, because of their strong financial positions, have proven more able and willing to respond to economic weakness than many feared. It is many of the developed countries which are bumbling along, looking for a way to respond to the financial crisis.
Perhaps the best way for investors to participate in the â€œnew decouplingâ€ of the emerging markets is through broad-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Here are some of them:
Claymore/BNY Mellon BRIC ETF (NYSE: EEB), iShares MSCI BRIC Index (NYSE: BKF), iShares MSCI Brazil Index (NYSE: EWZ), SPDR S&P China ETF (NYSE: GXC), Powershares India ETF (NYSE: PIN), First Trust ISE Chindia ETF (NYSE: FNI).
Every investor should consider having some exposure to these fast-growing economies as opposed to slow-growing or no growth economies such as the US.