Developing countries offer higher economic-growth rates, have younger, more dynamic populations and are under-represented in the global stockmarket. Buying a stake in emerging markets is like buying a stake in the future.
Non occore neppure spingersi troppo nel futuro: secondo le previsioni di Goldman Sachs la capitalizzazione totale delle borse emergenti salirà al 55% della capitalizzazione mondiale nel 2030, ma comunque oggi è già pari al 31% del totale. Il rendimento annualizzato implicito in queste stime è del 9.3%, contro un ben più anemico 4% per i mercati sviluppati. Ma Buttonwood invita alla prudenza, appoggiandosi a uno studio di Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh e Mike Staunton (discusso nel secondo capitolo del loro eccellente Global Investment Returns Yearbook, la cui edizione 2010 potete scaricare gratuitamente qui, grazie alla sponsorizzazione di Credit Suisse) che mostra come la correlazione tra la crescita del prodotto interno lordo e i rendimenti degli investimenti azionari sia praticamente inesistente (guardate la figura qui accanto). Inoltre c'è il rischio che i mercati emergenti si comportino come le azioni growth e incorporino nelle loro valutaizoni un eccesso di ottimismo che inevitabilmente penalizzerà i rendiementi futuri:
A second answer is that growth countries may behave like growth stocks. A period of strong performance leads to overvaluation, from which subsequent returns are inevitably disappointing. Has that stage arrived? The old rule of thumb was that emerging markets were pricey when they traded at a higher multiple of profits than their developed counterparts, as they did in 1999 and 2007 just before sharp falls in prices. At the moment they trade at a modest discount. But emerging markets are prone to boom-and-bust cycles. (...)
Il meccanismo che potrebbe produrre una bolla nei mercati emergenti e' quello classico, descritto da Kindleberger nel suo libro Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises:
It is quite possible that another boom is on its way. Bubbles, as described by Charles Kindleberger, a financial historian, usually involve an initial displacement, followed by rapid credit creation and then a phase of euphoria. The displacement may have been the financial crisis of 2007-08 which undermined the solvency of the developed world. As governments propped up their banks, their debts soared. On average emerging-market governments now have much lower debt-to-GDP ratios than their developed peers. Economic power seems to have made a decisive shift.
The crisis was followed by the slashing of interest rates in the developed world. These have had a limited effect in reviving lending in Western economies. But they have encouraged Western investors to buy higher-yielding assets, like emerging-market equities. Emerging market equity funds have already received inflows of $45 billion this year, according to EPFR Global, a research group.
And low rates will also boost credit creation in those developing countries that import American monetary policy via managed exchange rates.
Euphoria will follow as cheap money drives up asset prices this may have already happened in parts of the Asian property market. Investors probably have no option but to ride the wave, if only because the outlook for developed markets looks so flat. There is, at least, more solidity to emerging markets than there was to dotcom stocks.