Identifying the problems that have ailed various emerging markets this year is neither pleasurable nor difficult. Rising inflation in some developing markets, sliding currencies in many and slowing Chinese economic growth have been among the factors confounding emerging markets investors this year.
Morgan Stanley offered its own astute view of the matter with what it calls the “Triple Threat for Emerging Markets.” Those threats are the end of U.S. quantitative easing, unwinding of Chinese leverage and unwinding domestic developing world credit markets.
If all three scenarios worsen in unison, many emerging markets ETFs are likely to stumble, though some may remain sturdier than others. For example, Morgan Stanley points to Russia as being vulnerable to an unwinding of its domestic credit market. Funds such as the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX) could be vulnerable to slowing loan growth, but the fortunes of Russia ETFs are not intimately tied to the end of U.S. easing or the unwinding of Chinese leverage, according to Mogan Stanley. [Russia ETFs Struggle as High Rates Crimp Loan Growth]
The already downtrodden iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) is one example of an ETF that is vulnerable to all three scenarios. “Brazil, for instance, is exposed to all three: Foreign ownership of its bond market could suffer as U.S. rates rise. Weaker trade with Beijing slows Brazil’s investment cycle, and consumer debt burdens are already high,” reports Kopin Tan for Barron’s.
Indonesia, home to a faltering currency and widening account deficit, along with materials-heavy South Africa are two other examples of countries that could be vulnerable to all three scenarios. Thailand and Turkey, two markets represented by formerly high-flying ETFs that are now in bear markets, could be affected by the end of U.S. easing and domestic credit issues, though not as much by China woes, according to the Morgan Stanley analysis. [Bearish Views Mount on Turkey ETF]