Yet, surprisingly, so-called frontier markets – those markets that are still at a very early stage of development — have been among the best performers in 2013, outperforming global markets year to date.
While these exotic markets are not for everyone, more aggressive investors should consider having a small strategic allocation to the frontier. I last highlighted the reasons why back in May. But in light of the market volatility since then, here’s an updated list of four reasons why to consider exploring the frontier.
1. Momentum. Frontier markets have been remarkably resilient to the EM travails. The MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index is up approximately 15% year to date in dollar-terms. While frontier markets did get hit during the June sell-off, their pull back – of around 10% – was much shallower than that of EM and their subsequent rebound has been much stronger.
2. Value. Despite the strong performance, frontier markets still look relatively cheap. The price-to-book ratio of the MSCI Frontier Markets 100 index is currently around 1.3, below the roughly 1.5 of the comparable EM index.