Tag Archives: Investing

Markets irrational longer than you remain solvent, exhibit #274

2013.12.Irrational markets

Source: Russell Investments

There’s an article out on Seeking Alpha yesterday, called “Manufacturing Growth and Capital are Moving from China to Mexico“, nominally about the Mexico-China relationship to the US, but also more broadly (in my interpretation) about how we react to and measure growth in developing economies.

The key thesis here has to do with the spillover effects of China’s decelerating growth and who will pick up the slack. This may not necessarily be an exact zero-sum game, but it is to a certain extent, at least as long as Americans are still gaming, eating, drinking, driving and whatever else they demand to do, and as long as China and Mexico remain the second and third biggest trading partners of the US.

That Mexico will pick up some of this slack is a foregone conclusion. But just how much it benefits is what remains to be seen, and at least among its boosters, is what drives all this excitement we’ve been seeing about Mexico ever since the current administration was elected. Specific to this article, which was written by an equity analyst out of California called Erik Gholtoghian, the currency deficit between Mexico and China is particularly telling:

“…the Mexican peso has weakened dramatically against the dollar since 1990, almost 80%, and the peso is down 2.44% against the dollar over the past year. In other words, the Chinese yuan has strengthened 34% against the dollar since the revaluation began in 2006, but over the same time, the peso has weakened 20% against the dollar. This means the yuan is 54% stronger against the peso just over the past seven years. The result will be greatly decreasing exports from China to Mexico and increased exports from Mexico to China.”

All fine and good, but there’s something missing here and after discussing this with some folks I know around Mexico City, it strikes me that this is partly about Mexico but also about how to approach investment prospects for many emerging and frontier market countries.

I’ll begin with a basic metaphor to illustrate what I’m thinking of here. When you jump up in the air, how can you remain airborne as long as you do? Gravity should theoretically pull you back to earth, and in fact it eventually does. But there is a brief moment when you can defy the theory of gravity, due to the relationship between your body’s mass, your muscle strength and the actual gravitational force of the earth.

In the case of Mexico, economic reality has been suspended in this theory-defying space for a few years now and it’s a matter of time before indicators on the ground (no pun intended) reflect a closing of this gap. Think of it as the reverse situation of the dotcom bubble or the real estate bubble. This is the basis for value investing (as opposed to speculative investing) and at a bird’s eye level is no different from the approach Warren Buffet uses in evaluating stocks. Company ABC has low costs, stable contracts with a diversified customer base, competitive quality products and whatever, they should be making X profits per year but they’re only making a fraction of that…therefore, buy.

Here’s another comparable situation: Billy Beane, he of Moneyball fame, used the same approach when he was managing the Oakland A’s baseball team in the early 2000s. He saw underpaid players who may not hit home runs and may even have crappy batting averages, but also never seem to strike out and wind up finding their way across home plate one way or another. He exploited this for as long as he could, until the rest of baseball caught on, copied it, and eliminated his advantage. By this metaphor, Mexico’s economy is slowly being recognized by the Billy Beanes of the investing world. The difference is that Billy Beane kept his mouth shut because he knew he was on to something. Meanwhile, these investing gurus can’t stop praising Mexico as the next big thing, partly because everyone else jumping on the bandwagon makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy (which is where the baseball comparison stops) and partly because the nature of today’s evolving media universe sort of demands everyone to stake his claim as an “expert” in something.

Another difference with the Mexico situation is that there are a lot more variables that could prevent the benefits of this growth from reaching ordinary Mexicans (corruption, red tape, narco, etc) and the persistent failure of commentators on Mexico to recognize the unpredictability and range of these other variables can appear very misleading. Sometimes this failure seems to be because the commentator in question is clueless/stupid/ignorant/etc. Sometimes it’s because they have a vested interest in a positive outcome and are therefore disinclined to (publicly) focus on downside risks (here’s one recent example of this).

There is also the perennial issue of timing, which is the great bugbear of economics and investing in general. Going back to the gravity metaphor, we can predict with decent accuracy how long you can stay airborne as a result of the very specific estimate of Earth’s gravitational force being 9.81 meters per second squared. One of the main reasons for this specificity is that Earth’s gravitational force is independent of human behavior. Mexico’s economy does not enjoy the same luxury for all of the previously mentioned reasons and more.

As John Keynes is supposed to have said, “Markets can remain irrational longer than you and I can remain solvent.”

Personally, I don’t believe anything – good or bad – until I see it.

Frontier Markets Opportunities and Risks, Bloomberg Edition

As part of last month’s Bloomberg Dealmakers Summit in London, the following roundtable took place, featuring Timur Issatayev of Verny Capital, Parag Saxena of New Silk Route LLC and Danladi Verheijen of Verod Capital Management. It’s 22 minutes and all worth it, but if you want the single most profound statement for my time, fast-forward to 15:10, when Parag Saxena has the following to say when asked about investment risks in South Asia:

“If you stay away from purely government-granted things you can probably do all right but sometimes that is where the opportunity is so it’s hard. To me the big surprise that I learned in India, having been in the investment business for 31 years and thinking that I have made already most of the mistakes that I was going to make in my investment life, the one that surprised me in India, and I know it’s true in Pakistan and Bangladesh too, is the lack of talent. So when I invest in the U.S., which I continue to do, I know that even for a pretty tough to fill job, in 120 days to 180 days I can fill almost any job. And so typically now at my age, I get resumes from my friends’ children. I used to get them from my friends at one point and now I get them from my friends’ children. And in the US I think it’s going to be hard to actually place them because there is so much talent available for a limited number of jobs. In India, I find myself grabbing every resume because I can hire baristas for somebody that wants a summer internship job, we have a restaurant company and cellular tower company and we need CEOs, so I can hire CEOs for those companies, and everything in between. So the biggest surprise to me, and the opportunity, is training for lower level jobs. And that’s a real unexpected risk, because time is the enemy of internal rate of return and if it’s going to take you more time to fill these slots and you can’t get stuff done, you have a real problem.”

Here’s the video in full:

Charts Of The Day: Economic Potential In MENA

The most recent Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles featured a panel entitled, “Two, Three, Many Middle Easts: A Region’s Economic Prospects”, whose commentary is really only for the hard core MENA geeks, but I thought these charts were worth drawing attention to:

This one was the leader, showing average real GDP per capita from 1980 to 2000:

MENA Economic Development Variation 1

Here we have slides showing variation in GDP per capita across the Middle East and North Africa since 2001. Notice the y-axis scale difference between the Gulf states in the rightmost chart versus North Africa and “core” Middle East:

MENA Economic Development Variation 2

An approximate comparison of just how miniscule FDI flows to the region relative to the world:

MENA Economic Development Variation 3

Of the FDI that does go to the region, we shouldn’t be surprised to find more of it going to the oil producers than to the non-oil producers:

MENA Economic Development Variation 4

And yet expected GDP growth for the coming few years is expected to be mostly uniform:

MENA Economic Development Variation 5

Finally, intra-regional FDI against total FDI to the region:

MENA Economic Development Variation 6

The link to the full hour panel discussion is here and embedded below. If MENA development is your gig, I guarantee there’s something in there for everyone, from diplomats to venture capitalists and anyone in between. For my time, by far the best bang for the buck commentary comes from Chris Schroeder, who starts speaking at approximately minute 36. This man talks way too fast for me to transcribe or bother quoting any of it, but suffice it to say he depicts in words far more illustrious than any of these charts the economic potential the Arab World possesses.

How Much More Can Emerging Markets Debt Grow?

EM versus US High Yield Bonds riskLondon-based Clear Path Analysis has an excellent report detailing investment considerations for Emerging Markets debt and FX investing. So good, actually, that it’s forcing me to second-guess my previously held view that Emerging Markets debt is in a bubble approaching crisis proportions. It’s a long-ish report (32 pages) and it’s all important, so let’s get straight to some of the notable commentary they’ve put together. I think these quotes really speak for themselves.

Gregoire Haenni, Chief Investment Officer, CERN Pension Fund, on why Asia has and will continue leading EMs:

One of the main reasons why investors are beginning to allocate into EM is because of the Asian sovereign credit re-rating trend. Asian sovereign credit fundamentals have generally been on the up for the last six years which is in contrast to other developed countries. The fiscal discipline and underlying economy growth has capped government debt to GDP without exceptions and trade surpluses over the past decade have resulted in a build up of foreign exchange reserves.
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Chart of the Day: Frontier Markets Correlations, Round 2

S&P Capital IQ slipped this press release out last week, which I’m glad I followed up on since it led me to the following correlation chart:

Frontier Markets Correlation vs Major Indices

Equally important, this comment which came alongside it:

From an asset allocation perspective, one of the biggest positive differentiators of frontier market equities is their relatively low correlation with both developed and emerging market equities as well as commodities (see table 2). The asset class’ ability to “zig” when others “zag” is a function of its aforementioned limited integration into the global economy and its more domestically driven fundamentals, in our view.

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Assessing Televisa’s Political Risk in Mexico

Televisa Since Dec 1Mexico watchers up to date on the landmark reforms underway in Mexico can skip straight down to the section below where the block quotes begin.

For the rest of you not up to speed, the Mexican government is getting ready to put most of the new non-oil reforms up for a vote quite soon. The Economist has a pretty good recent summary here, and if you have more time I would highly recommend checking out extensive coverage of the annual Americas Society / Council of the Americas event just closed in Mexico City here.

And for those of you new to Diverging Markets, let me sum up my basic attitude toward the Peña Nieto Administration as being what I call “optimistic distrust.” This means that I have no ideological or financial stake in any of this (though I’m still waiting for the right moment to short iShares’ Mexico ETF), but given what I know of Mexican political history and Mexican society I am highly skeptical about a lot of the big reform promises made thus far for reasons repeated throughout here; at the same time, given that I spend more time in Mexico than anywhere else, I would absolutely welcome having my skepticism proven wrong. But the caveat here as always is that Mexican leadership has become increasingly adept at telling foreign investors what they want to hear and the Peña Nieto Administration in particular has proven itself quite remarkable in this capacity. Put another way, don’t believe everything you read about this country.

Now let’s get to Televisa. The chart above shows this stock’s performance since  Peña Nieto took office on December 1 last year, and its movement in the past week is not encouraging. One of the reasons is likely a disclosure Televisa recently made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a form that was previously unknown to me, called form 20-F. According to Investopedia, this is a form meant for foreign companies who list American Depositary Receipts in U.S. markets. The entirety of Televisa’s recent 20-F is worth reading, but in particular the “Risk Factors” section under Item 3, which is chock full of warnings.

Here’s a slice of it from the bottom of page 9 to get everyone’s juices flowing:

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Making Sense Of Angola Stock Exchange Plans

Africa Stock Market Cap FiguresBloomberg had a story out late last week about plans for an Angola Stock Exchange, entitled, “Angola Plans 6th-Biggest Africa Bourse With Value at 10% of GDP”. Since we (and by we, I mean you and me, in an apparently small minority) are resolved to have a realistic approach in discussing economic prospects anywhere, here are the main points of interest from the article once we strip away all the spin and optimism:

  • Angola, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, expects its stock exchange to have a market value of 10 percent of gross domestic product within 18 months of its startup, making it at least the continent’s sixth biggest.
  • The capitalization of the exchange, set to start in 2015, would be a minimum of $11 billion based on last year’s output of $114 billion.
  • The Angolan government is forecasting economic growth of 7.1 percent this year, down from 7.4 percent in 2012.
  • A secondary bond market will start this year to help develop a yield curve.
  • South Africa’s bourse is the continent’s largest at $842 billion, more than double its GDP.
  • Angola ranks 157th out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The investment bank Imara just put together this brief which summarizes some key data points for other stock markets in Africa. There’s some good trading info in there but missing is any indication of market capitalization figures. I should add that this isn’t Imara’s fault necessarily as this data is generally pretty hard to come by.

The thing is, this isn’t the first time Angola has made efforts at opening a stock exchange. In December 2007, allAfrica.com ran a story entitled, “Angola: Stock Exchange Opens in 2008”, but I definitely remember hearing about this before then, though not as far back as 2003, which is when this article dates the beginning of the process.

In any event, here’s a more “recent” take on the Angola stock exchange prediction, from How We Made It In Africa in 2010. Apparently, Angola’s planned exchange was then expected to be the third largest in Africa. Particularly striking from the 2010 article was this little snippet:
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Basic Strategy For Hyping An Investment Trend

2013.03.11.PlanetHypeI’ve seen this happen so many times, I could teach a class on it:

  1. Take a small data sample of something that confirms the view you’re determined to promote;
  2. Regardless of how rigorous the methodology or how representative the sample size, declare that this is indicative of a broader trend–forest for the trees or some such thing;
  3. Willfully ignore any aspects of this declaration that remotely contradict your view;
  4. Deny/insult/discredit/lash out at anyone who tries to take an even-handed view on it;
  5. Begrudgingly concede that nothing is perfect but that a positive attitude is what counts;
  6. Neglect to make clear the very pertinent fact that you have a vested interest–financially, politically, reputationally–in a positive outcome which therefore inhibits your own objectivity;
  7. If your lawyers insist, loosely outline the caveats to your opinion and bury them somewhere where they are least likely to be noticed (“past performance is not indicative of future results” is the boilerplate here);
  8. Debunk the caveats by paraphrasing points 1 and 2 and emphasize the probability your forecast will prevail;
  9. Lather;
  10. Rinse;
  11. Repeat.

Now, let’s consider a brief list of where we’ve seen this template applied in the recent past:

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TRANSCRIPT: Nomad Capitalist Report Radio Show Interview

terraqueous-globeI was interviewed for the weekly Nomad Capitalist radio show over the weekend, hosted by Andrew Henderson. On the agenda: the Africa-China relationship, putting the hot-or-not test to Frontier Markets and the nuances of investing in Mexico. Here’s the link and here’s the mp3:

http://www.buzzsprout.com/8222/78536-nomad-capitalist-report-feb-23-2013.mp3

And here’s the transcript:

Andrew Henderson:   I want to start with a piece that you touched on recently, commodities, and emerging markets’ domination of reserves of commodities, explain that a little bit and let’s get into what exactly that can tell us.

Ulysses de la Torre:     Thanks for having me. If it’s the graph I think you’re talking about, it’s not a graph, it’s actually a map, which I pulled from Glencore, which, given Glencore’s footprint in this universe, shouldn’t be surprising that they should come up with something like this. And what it basically shows is a map of the world and how all of the key commodities are dominated in one form or another by underdeveloped markets. When I look at it, the first thing I see is that one of the big obstacles here is nothing more than logistics and infrastructure. And this is something that’s frequently lost on foreign investors trying to research this from afar because these are elements of an economy that you cannot fully understand without experiencing it. It’s one thing to be stuck in a traffic jam that takes you two hours to make a trip that normally takes one hour, but it’s entirely another thing for a truckload of raw materials to take three days to drive a couple hundred miles because of anything from bad roads, military checkpoints, bandits, local territorial disputes, on top of your basic traffic problems. This adds significantly to transport costs and who ultimately foots the bill for this added cost is often a point of dispute that can manifest in a lot of ways that North America and Europe haven’t really had to think about in decades, since before most of us were even alive.

AH:                             You talk a lot about Africa and I want to get into some of the specifics that are going on there. There’s a big media play that China is recolonizing Africa and so many of the resources plays, even the financial sector plays, let’s talk about Africa, because that’s one area to hone in on for these resources, it’s very resource rich, it’s fast growing, but it’s more than just China, let’s talk about who the players are in Africa and what’s going on there, give us the introductory sketch to Africa.

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A Very Frank Discussion of Corruption and Risk in Frontier Markets

2013.02.22.Frank discussion of corruption and risk in Frontier MarketsHuge kudos to Andrew Henderson of Nomad Capitalist and Chris Tell of Capitalist Exploits for this discussion of investment prospects primarily in frontier markets. The focus is mainly on Mongolia, but they also cover Fiji, Myanmar and Cambodia. The podcast is worth listening to in its entirety, but the discussion of risk and corruption in particular grabbed my attention for its rare candor. I don’t think Henderson consulted any of the things I’ve previously said about due diligence and liquidity risk, but some of his questions may as well have been lifted directly from some of my thoughts on these themes, most recently here and here.

Since I can’t find any transcription of the interview anywhere, I thought I’d transcribe the salient points directly since this is definitely something I’ll be referring back to: Continue reading

Central America, Forgotten Stepchild

2013.02.20.Central America forgotten stepchildThe reality is that the world evolves in large part on the basis of relativity. And the thing about Central America is that it’s so overlooked that even when there’s nothing new to say, it’s still worth reminding ourselves what’s there since it’s so rarely the object of focus.

In fact, it’s so out of focus that I listened to this Business Monitor International podcast back in December when it was first released and didn’t think twice of it until seeing this very bullish take the other day on investing in Central America from MoneyWeek. The headline should give you an idea of where we’re going here:

CENTRAL AMERICA IS A GREAT INVESTMENT STORY – BUY NOW

Since BMI came first, let’s review that. Here’s what I didn’t necessarily learn, but am happy to be reminded of: Continue reading

The Problem With Trying To Rank Emerging And Frontier Markets

“Only the most bullish should even think about putting up to 5% of their equity portfolio in frontier markets. And even that might be too much.” — Ben Levisohn

The March issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine apparently attempts to rank the “most promising” Emerging and Frontier Markets for investors according to relative economic performance across a variety of areas. And because we simply cannot resist rankings and lists, I’ve been spending some time digging through some of this which is currently available online (the methodology is described here).

So this is the EM table (go here if you prefer a slideshow format…I personally do not):

2013.02.19.Bloomberg Emerging Markets ranking

And here’s the FM table: Continue reading

Brazil v Mexico, round 832: The Economist challenges the NYT as Contrarian Bellwether

Thanks to David Agren for drawing my attention to the following. Animal Politico poses the following question, which is not the first time I’ve heard this thesis, but is the most recent incarnation of it: Are The Economist magazine covers a contrarian indicator? Specifically, consider that this is what Brazil’s economic performance looks like since the famous cover illustration of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer as a rocket ship, with the headline, “Brazil Takes Off”:

2013.02.12.Brazil GDP post-Economist cover

For those in need of a refresher, here’s the cover in question:

2013.02.12.Economist Brazil cover

If you buy into the notion that such an indicator does have predictive value — which I partly do, and I’ll explain in a moment — then consider this cover, published last November:

2013.02.12.Economist Mexico cover

Now consider this statement, which I’ve translated, from Animal Politico:

What has happened with the Mexico economy that produced such a change of expectations from the British magazine? What is it basing its optimism on? Is it justified?

In principle, there does not appear to have been a change of anything substantial or profound in the Mexican economy. The only observable change is political and it has to do with a change of government and, above all, with a change in the discourse of the new government. This is due to the new administration having emphasized economic reforms that it intends to implement, while talking less about the violence and insecurity of the country even though these factors have not diminished on an absolute basis. Nevertheless, apart from this, there does not appear to be in reality many reasons to anticipate a radical or profound change from an economic perspective for the country.

This is the key passage to pay attention to. And I honestly do not know that I could have said it any better myself.

What also strikes me here is the difference in how different actors respond to economic developments. Anyone with skin in the game from the standpoint of market exposure comes to certain conclusions a long time before the rest of the world and voices such opinions by buying or selling as appropriate in the particular market or markets in question. Put another way, the smart money has already moved on to other matters.

The nature of political discourse is such that some greater degree of measurable certainty is required before articulating a view. I used to consider this characteristic a shortcoming of political actors, something akin to a mental deficiency, but I now recognize it is merely a logical outcome of how arguments and actions are constructed in that sphere. I’ve been saying this for a long time, and it applies here too–the order of actors who show up to a geopolitical or economic disturbance tends to generally adhere to the following scheme, and this is by all means a theory in flux, so if anyone disagrees or has other points to add, please feel free:

1. criminals/black market/other extralegal profiteers
2. certain NGOs (such as those emphasizing acting more than thinking)
3. “legal” profiteers – adventure variety (frequently sold to by #1)
4. lawyers
5. “legal” profiteers – mainstream variety (frequently sold to by #3)
6. consumers (frequently sold to by #5)
7. media
8. certain other NGOs (such as those emphasizing thinking more than acting)
9. politicians
10. academia

Finally, bringing this back to the Brazil v Mexico neverending faceoff…I’m making no secret that I’m seriously considering shorting the iShares Mexico ETF, which goes by the ticker EWW. Those inclined toward technical analysis may do what you may with the following chart. But if you’re at all inclined to believe the hype about Mexico, I would simply respond: Believe nothing until you see it.

2013.02.12.Mexico EWW ETF chart

Hype, Truth and Something In Between, Nigeria Edition

2013.02.07.Nigeria truth hypeDiscussing the prospects of investing in Africa seems to invite a rising level of dissonance between people with something to sell—be it product or ideology—and people with some perspective still stuck in the colonial era.

So when I saw that US News published something entitled, “Why Africa Is Essential to America’s Future,” I came into it expecting the former, but was surprised at how much space the author took to remind everyone of all the reasons to be scared:

There are wars and rumors of wars every day. Sudan and South Sudan not only have difficulty accepting one another, they both have internal schisms to bridge. Somalia is still a divided and dangerous land. The Eastern Congo is plagued by marauding and competing armies and bands that call themselves armies, though they are little more than semi-organized thugs, robbers, rapists, and murderers, often sponsored by governments, local or national. Madagascar continues to be run by a coup-inspired government that has allowed its country to be open to international pilferage leading to the obliteration of their green environment and unique wildlife. Continue reading

Frontier Markets! These Prices are IN-SANE!

Sometimes when I read mainstream financial media coverage of how frontier and emerging markets are booming-heaving-climbing-winning-advancing-accelerating-faster-bigger-better-more, I get this weird sensation in my gut. It’s like I’m listening to some combination of carnival barker and auctioneer and used car salesman all rolled into one.

Actually, I know what it reminds me of. This is exactly what it reminds me of:

Take a look at this opening from this Bloomberg article last week and see if you don’t feel it too. It starts with the headline, “Best Stock Pickers Trawl Frontier Markets as U.S. Funds Lose” and continues as such. Try reading this aloud in as few breaths as possible:

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Chart of the Day: THE END IS NIGH

Um…I think it’s pretty clear where this is heading:

2013.01.25.Chart of the Day Sp500

A triple top with lower lows…from a technical standpoint, this is run-for-the-hills kind of bad. There’s a lot of other doomsaying going on, the most prominent being this leading indicator showing Apple versus Microsoft.

The big conundrum is this: if everyone’s getting ready to dump US stocks, where do they go? Japan and Switzerland are off the table as safe haven currencies, US Treasuries can barely go any higher, gold doesn’t have the capacity to absorb all this inflow, the Eurozone is experiencing what appears to be death by a thousand cuts…

Emerging and frontier markets investors will try to convince you that the developing world is where the returns are, but as I’ve already pointed out in a number of different ways, there are limits to what these other markets can absorb.

So what now?

Cash. What does cash mean? It means precisely this:

2013.01.25.Usdollar100

There’s one word for Emerging Markets Debt. And one way to hedge it.

2013.01.11.Emerging Markets debt bubbleEuromoney leads an Emerging Markets debt bubble story with this teaser:

“International money is flying into emerging market sovereign bond markets with frontier credits, such as Zambia, Mongolia and Bolivia, now boasting low yields. The jury is out on whether there is a bubble brewing in developing bond markets in hard currency.”

Um…personally, the jury is in if you ask me. It’s been in for quite a while and I don’t think anyone doubts that there is a bubble. The only question is when it’s going to pop. I mean, seriously folks. Disregard whatever spin you’re hearing from compromised money managers. The facts speak for themselves:
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Questions to ask when vetting Frontier Markets fund managers

Anyone who shares the opinion that New York Times coverage of an investment trend augurs its peak should be thinking twice about frontier markets allocation this year after its December 27 profile of Leopard Capital’s Doug Clayton. You can have at the full profile here, but many of the flashy numbers won’t surprise anyone accustomed to dealing in these sorts of markets. More notable to me is how upbeat the overall picture is being painted. As far as I’m concerned, this is the most important statement from the entire piece:

“He will have to tread cautiously. Mr. Clayton is moving into treacherous investment territory, plagued by infrastructure problems, corruption, political instability and weak or nonexistent regulatory leadership. For example, Mongolia’s economy is on shaky ground after a series of political maneuvers left foreign investors nervous.”

And that’s about as close as the NYT comes to addressing downside risks. Continue reading

Chart of the Day: Frontier Markets correlations

Sourced from Index Universe:

Frontier Market correlations

Mexico’s last locally-owned bank, democracy today and PRI 2.0

When was the last time you heard a bank openly and unabashedly praise an incoming political leader or party? I’m not talking about some vast conspiracy thing here; I mean this quite literally. Imagine it: a new political leader is “democratically” elected and one of the largest banks in the country publicly praises the incoming political leadership, telling all its customers and investors and anyone else who will listen that a new day has begun and good times are here to stay. Sounds sort of…propagandistic, doesn’t it? Sounds like

Well, Banorte, which happens to be the last remaining fully Mexican-owned bank, has of late been sending out research notes with a level of subservience and puerility really unbecoming itself. In chronological order:

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