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Not all emerging market economies are created equal, and with advanced economy growth persistently soft, it’s key to look for the fastest growers.

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The countries that drove the MSCI Emerging Markets Index over the last 15 years have slowing growth rates, notes strategist David Dali in a Matthews Asia report.

“The average estimated growth in 2017 for advanced economies, as defined by the IMF, is just below 2%,” says Dali. “And of the 39 countries the IMF considers advanced, not one of them is projected to grow by more than 4% in 2017. The more developed emerging economies are following that same path.”

Lower growth in emerging economies can be attributed to economical cyclicality and the failure to implement meaningful reforms. Further, high growth rates are hard to sustain as countries become more developed, as is the case for countries such as China, South Korea, Brazil and Poland.

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With the emerging market benchmark composed of about 70% Asian stocks, maximizing an allocation to emerging markets means “getting Asia right,” says Dali.

He sees opportunities in Asia’s fastest growers: India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Their aggregate GDP is 5.93%.

Beyond having growth potential and other positive attributes — a growing consumer base, reasonable volatility and low correlation with the S&P 500 and the MSCI EAFE — the economies are undiscovered sources of alpha. That’s because they have little sell-side analyst coverage.

In fact, more than 46% of companies traded on these economies’ exchanges have either none or just one sell-side analyst, says Dali. “Active managers willing to do the groundwork can find undiscovered companies that have very favourable attributes versus their well-researched benchmark counterparts.”

Read the full report.

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Find value in emerging market debt

Originally published on Advisor.ca
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