To the shock of many, MSCI Rising Markets Index returns in 2020 matched these of the S&P 500. Given this robust efficiency, are there causes to be optimistic about rising markets in 2021? Certainly, there may be a lot to love about their basic outlook, and affected person buyers may benefit from a robust rebound in earnings. That being mentioned, there are near-term dangers to be aware of: the robust snapback in 2020 implies that rising market equities should not have the wind of extraordinarily low cost valuations behind them. Plus, they proceed to face challenges, with potential restrictions arising from the unfold of latest coronavirus variants and rising U.S. rates of interest.
A Look Again at 2020
Early in 2020, buyers fled rising markets for the protected haven of the U.S. greenback and dollar-denominated property. Their nervousness was comprehensible. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, rising market international locations didn’t have superior well being care infrastructures, they didn’t have cash to spend, and so they couldn’t afford to print cash like a lot of the developed world. In different phrases, they had been dropping a grip on their future. However many rising markets did a better-than-expected job of managing the pandemic, and the resilience of their economies was mirrored of their inventory markets.
The place Will Rising Markets Go Subsequent?
As we glance forward, there are 4 key catalysts for rising market fairness returns: enchancment in well being outcomes, world development alternatives, the flexibility to fireplace on all cylinders, and greenback depreciation.
Enchancment in well being outcomes. There was a stark divergence within the success charges of rising market international locations in dealing with the pandemic. China and several other different North Asian international locations navigated the disaster a lot better than the remainder of the world, whereas many Latin American international locations struggled. Even now, there may be huge dispersion within the penetration of the vaccination applications. Thus, economies of some international locations have rebounded faster after the sharp collapse early final yr, and others are on the tail finish of the disaster. As vaccinations get underway, we might see larger optimistic convergence amongst rising international locations, because the North Asian economies maintain optimistic momentum whereas others reopen and rebound.
International development alternatives. Rising market international locations have a better beta to world development. Following the preliminary lockdown, world manufacturing development rebounded strongly and remained resilient in the course of the subsequent virus waves. Industrial manufacturing volumes are above pre-crisis ranges in most rising markets. Total, rising market international locations weathered the pandemic higher than developed international locations and are anticipated to guide the restoration within the post-pandemic interval.
Capacity to fireplace on all cylinders. Up to now couple of many years, the rising market index has pivoted from an obese in conventional supplies, power, and financials to extra growth-oriented sectors like expertise, client discretionary, and well being care (see chart beneath). Secular tendencies like digitalization and elevated spending on well being care, logistics, and premium merchandise ought to proceed because the pandemic disaster strikes behind us. The evolution of the sector make-up of the rising market index is favorable for higher earnings development charges and performs into the long-term rising market client theme.
There may be additionally the prospect for broadening of the rising market alternative set. The latest surge in commodity and oil costs has lifted optimism about financial prospects within the giant pure useful resource producers in Latin America and the Center East. Whereas this will not sign the beginning of one other commodity tremendous cycle, it does enhance the near-term outlook for the cyclical areas and sectors of rising markets.
Greenback depreciation. Rising market equities are likely to do higher in a weaker greenback setting. A weaker greenback results in simpler monetary circumstances and attracts overseas capital into rising markets. Conversely, because the greenback strengthens, rising markets expertise outflows and weaker returns for U.S. buyers. The greenback has been range-bound previously few months, as longer-dated U.S. charges rose, and there may be potential for some strengthening right here if the upward stress in charges stays. However the basic elements for a longer-term development of a weaker greenback proceed—large cash printing, an enormous fiscal deficit, and broadening world development. A weaker greenback might elevate rising market equities additional.
Evaluating the Close to-Time period Threat
After robust features in latest months, rising market equities seem to have come off the boil, pushed partly by rising U.S. Treasury yields. Regardless of the latest declines, valuations in elements of rising market equities look stretched relative to their historical past (see chart beneath). This might show to be a near-term headwind, particularly if U.S. charges proceed to rise and the greenback consolidates features or rises additional.
Supply: Capital Economics
Earnings Progress Forward?
Whereas richer valuations may very well be a headwind, stronger earnings development might carry the day (or yr) for rising markets. Valuation adjustments have been the important thing driver of rising market fairness returns previously few years. Even in 2020, when earnings of rising market corporations tanked as international locations went into lockdown, investor sentiment and, therefore, valuation multiples rebounded rapidly.
Going into 2021, a lot of the heavy lifting will must be accomplished by earnings development. Right here, the outlook is kind of sturdy. Consensus expectations are for an almost 30 % rebound in company earnings. Regardless of the richer multiples relative to historical past, there’s a larger probability that rising market equities will develop into these valuations and reward buyers by greater earnings development.
Supply: Goldman Sachs Asset Administration
The Lengthy View
Rising markets supply enticing development alternatives, each now and over the long run. They’ve survived a number of stress checks over time, and their efficiency in the course of the pandemic is but extra proof of their resilience. Wanting forward, I count on sturdy danger urge for food to help rising market property. Publish-pandemic restoration of home economies, accelerating world development, and a weak greenback—these are only a handful of the numerous elements supporting an publicity to rising markets.
That mentioned, valuations of rising market equities look wealthy on a historic foundation, with the MSCI Rising Markets Index’s ahead price-to-earnings ratio buying and selling at 16x, versus a five-year common nearer to 12x. Positive aspects in 2020 got here from a number of expansions, as is the norm when exiting recessions. Going ahead, earnings per share development from a synchronized world financial restoration will drive fairness costs. This might result in a broadening of features to the extra cyclically oriented areas and sectors of rising markets that lagged the latest rally and supply extra enticing valuations.
Editor’s Word: The unique model of this text appeared on the Impartial Market Observer.