What lies beneath: The hidden truth of EM commodities

Emerging market (EM) countries have borne the brunt of the recent commodity price collapse: the Institute of International Finance estimates global investors pulled US$735bn out of emerging market bonds and equities in 2015, the worst capital flight in 15 years.[1]

But we believe the popular view of emerging markets as predominantly commodity-dependent net exporters – is a mistaken one. For some EM countries, energy is a key export; while for others (Latin America, for example) exports are predominantly soft commodities and metals. In Asia, with one or two exceptions, countries are mainly net importers, particularly of energy. Across emerging markets, just 44% of countries are net exporters, while 56% are net importers.[2]

We think these nuances matter. They demonstrate the importance of viewing emerging markets not as one monolithic whole but rather as a broadly differentiated set of investment opportunities and challenges.

Rodica Glavan – Insight, a BNY Mellon company

[1] Bloomberg: ‘Emerging Markets Lost $735 Billion in 2015, More to Go, IIF Says’, 20 January 2016

[2] JP Morgan: ‘EM exposure and vulnerability to commodities revisited’, 9 March 2016


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