Bond investors should choose the Americas over Asia.
So says Patrick Bradley, a fixed-income product specialist at Brandywine Global Investment Management. His firm manages the Renaissance Global Bond Fund.
When looking at emerging markets, he explains, investors must “distinguish between economies that exhibit positive economic fundamentals in terms of budget policies and current account surpluses, and those countries that are dependent on continued portfolio flows and short-term borrowing abroad.”
People have to be selective when looking for opportunities, adds Bradley. As a result, he has cut his Asian exposure to its lowest level in years. Instead, he’s focusing on areas such as Mexico and Brazil, and the U.S. dollar, which “is relatively cheap.”
- Brazil raises interest rates a fifth time since April
- Mixed reactions to Mexico’s energy policy shift
That’s because “Manufacturing activity in the U.S. [is] picking up [and] there’s the potential for developments in the U.S. energy industry,” says Bradley. “Better economic growth in the U.S” will help boost the value of the U.S. dollar.
He doesn’t expect a major slowdown in China, however, which is good news for broader Asia. In particular, Bradley expects positive developments in Japan, for example, “as the country rebuilds from the earthquake and tsunami.”
In fact, he still favours South Korean bonds, though he’s completely hedged South Korea’s currency into the U.S. dollar due to the “budding currency war between South Korea and Japan.” Both regions “compete in many of the same industries and the Yen weakened dramatically over the last year.”
Bradley is positive on Australian and New Zealand bonds as well, but he also hedges those currencies.