Tag Archives: Emerging Markets


Our weighted average return in January was +8.22%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +38.15%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for January were (a) +2.36% for conservative strategies, (b) +7.64% for balanced strategies, and (c) +11.17% for aggressive strategies.

January was a considerably better month than December. As mentioned in last month’s commentary, US Fed Chairman Powell’s statement that the Fed was “listening closely to markets” on January 4th proved to be just what the market needed to stop panicking about the prospect of rising rates. The partial resolution of the US government shutdown added to positive sentiment, as did more positive dialogue regarding trade tariff negotiations between the US and China. As such, the S&P 500 (SPY US) rose +8.01%, Emerging Market equities surged +10.34% (EEM US) and Emerging Market bonds gained +4.78% (EMB US).

read more

Emerging Markets Bonds performance when US rates rise

2018 was a tough year for bond investors. US Total Bond Market (represented by BND US ETF) returned -0.1% and Emerging Markets Bonds (represented by EMB US ETF) returned -5.5%.

Looking at last year’s returns, a logical question arose: what should we do with our exposure to Emerging Markets (EM) Bonds? Should we keep our allocation unchanged, reduce or eliminate it and replace it with US Treasuries?

The logical chain of thought dictates that investors require higher rates of return for higher levels of risk. If the FED is increasing rates, increased rates provide an option to have investments in safe government bonds with higher yields than before. It raises the required rate of return for taking higher risks, thus investors require higher yields on riskier assets for example EM bonds. It should also lead to a higher spread between EM Bonds and US Treasuries.

read more


Our weighted average return in August was +2.67%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +39.53%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for August were (a) -0.33% for conservative strategies, (b) -0.71% for balanced strategies, and (c) +7.18% for aggressive strategies.

August was a difficult month for almost all asset classes other than US stocks, as it remains quite clear that international trade tensions have done little to dim US business confidence.

read more

Global Outlook Improves

As market commentators attempt to deride the “Trump rally”, they are actually missing the broader picture of the multi-faceted economic growth that is going on globally.

Scott Grannis provides some great commentary and charts in the following blog post:
LINK: Global Outlook Improves

Here’s a interesting comparison between US and European stocks and industrial production:

Oh, and by the way, emerging market stocks are doing best of all:

read more

How Major Asset Classes Performed In January

In a world inundated with terms like ‘alternate facts’ and ‘post truth’ we take comfort in numbers.

Our business is simple, you make money for your clients or you don’t. No amount of academic accreditations, algorithms or excuses can compensate for not making successful investment decisions (see ‘Long Term Capital Management’…).

Here is how major asset classes performed in January:

LINK: Major Asset Class Performance January 2017

And here is the performance of our top equity holdings:
top 10

read more

Emerging Market Bonds – Still an Attractive Asset Class

em bonds

The majority of our fixed income returns over the past number of years have come from Emerging Market bonds.

In the wake of Trump’s election victory, rising rate assumptions, a higher US dollar and a higher anticipated degree of trade protectionism led to a strong sell off in Emerging Market bonds. We took this sell-off as a buying opportunity.

The following link sums up our investment rationale quite well:

LINK: Fear Not Emerging Market Bonds

Although mark to market pricing and wider bid-ask spreads can lead to higher volatility in Emerging Market bonds, we have found that choosing healthy companies in the right sectors can generate outstanding risk adjusted returns for long term investors.

read more

Global Bond Funds Suffer Worst Ever Meltdown – But We Feel Fine

Just over a month ago, we pointed out that the tide was turning on negative yields:

LINK: What Happened to Negative Yields?

The turning tide has become a tidal wave:

LINK: Bonds Suffer Worst Ever Meltdown

Here are the two month returns for the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (the most popular bond ETF: BND US), the US 10 year note, and the German 10 year bund:


Now, these are not cataclysmic draw downs, but the effect on investor psychology can not be discounted. Bonds have had a wonderful 30 year run, and bond funds have seen massive inflows. But nothing lasts forever, and market movements can become self fulfilling prophecies, especially when it comes to crowded trades. Losing money on bonds is not something that this generation of investors are used to, and outflows from bond funds will lead to forced selling, which will lead to further pressure on bond prices, which will lead to further bond fund redemptions, which will lead to… I think you get the point.

read more

Get Ready To Start Buying Emerging Market Stocks


Emerging market currencies, bonds, and stocks have sold off since the US elections as protectionist banter and hyperbole involving the implementation of trade tariffs has seen money flock to US assets and strengthened the US dollar. However, when the dollar is strong, foreign assets become cheaper, and shrewd investors will be wise to look at oversold EM assets in the next couple of months.

Here is a five year comparison of the S&P 500 Index -vs- the MSCI Emerging Market Index:


As you can see, Emerging Market stocks have massively under performed the S&P 500 Index and have actually lost money for investors whereas the S&P 500 has almost doubled over the same period of time.

read more

How to Profit from Panic: Closed-End Emerging Market Bond Funds

My apologies for the lack of posts over the past two days. I was attending the Wealth Pro conference in Riga learning about tax domiciles, corporate structures, etc…

Glad to be back at the office.

I was recently talking with a client over Skype, who made the point that changes in sentiment can have a drastic effect on the price of securities. He was absolutely right.

However, there is ‘sentiment’ and then there’s ‘non-sense’.

Here’s a recent example:


The Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Domestic Debt Fund (EDD) invests in a portfolio of emerging market bonds that were issued in their local currency. Like regular mutual funds, the value of the holdings of a closed-end fund are calculated on a daily basis resulting in a net asset value (NAV). However, whereas the daily price of a mutual fund unit is based on its NAV, closed end funds are traded on the open market and are thus priced at whatever price the market bears. Usually, discounts to NAV in equity ETFs can be arbitraged away through high-frequency trading price arbitrage. However, this pricing efficiency is harder to replicate in the over-the-counter bond market – especially when dealing with more exotic bonds. Put simply, it is hard to replicate the holdings of EDD, so EDD has historically traded at a discount of its NAV. There is a functional logic to this fact. However, the degree of the discount to NAV can be quite striking.

read more