ETF Securities Research Blog

The latest IMF’s report highlights how important emerging markets are

blogDevelopments in emerging markets (EMs) account for more than a third of the variations in stock market and foreign exchange market returns worldwide, according to the IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report released last Monday. The financial spillovers – the extent to which EM equity returns are reflected in developed markets equity returns – have risen 28% (IMF estimates). For the largest emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa), they have risen by 40%. The spillovers on bond markets are less clear because bond flows have been strongly affected by monetary policies in advanced economies.

Why do EMs get so much attention today? It is because EMs are far more invested now than ever, with the financial crisis being a catalyst to investor diversification. EMs share of global equity market capitalization more than doubled in the last twenty years amid declining market segmentation. The growing trend in EM financial integration is likely to continue until reaching a level consistent with the extent of their contribution to the global economy. EMs contribute to 38% to the global GDP but represent only 13% of the global financial system, according to data compiled by the IMF.

EM’s role in the global financial system is likely to continue to grow at a steady pace along with EM’s share in investors’ portfolios. First, EMs have demonstrated financial and economic resilience despite financial turbulences. Second, the quantitative easing programmes from developed economies have accelerated their integration into the global financial system by pouring liquidity into EMs. We believe the unconventional central bank policies are not likely to terminate any time soon. When they eventually end, it most certainly will not be in an abrupt manner. For these reasons, we think EMs are becoming a permanent and an influential financial players. In our view, current credit spreads are overcompensating investors for the credit and liquidity risks.