EMERGING MARKETPLACES, UNVEILING DANGER © Leo Haviland December 2, 2021
In the film “The Deer Hunter” (Michael Cimino, director), a character asks: “Did you ever think life would turn out like this?”
OVERVIEW AND CONCLUSION
Prices for both emerging marketplace stocks and emerging marketplace debt securities “in general” peaked in first quarter 2021. The price tops (yield bottoms) in key emerging marketplace interest rate instruments (around early January 2021) preceded mid-February 2021’s summit in “overall” emerging marketplace equities. Emerging marketplace debt securities established interim price troughs in March 2021, and their prices thereafter rallied (yields fell) for several months. However, yields for those benchmark interest rate securities thereafter have climbed, and that has coincided with slumping prices for emerging marketplace stocks. Moreover, stocks for these developing nations have made a pattern of lower and lower interim highs since February 2021.
This price convergence between emerging marketplace stock and debt securities probably will continue, and prices in both arenas will continue to decline.
The latest coronavirus variant (Omicron) can encourage falls in both advanced nation and emerging stock marketplace prices, but it is not the only bearish factor for them. Rising interest rates and massive debt also play critical roles in this theater. Substantial global inflation and increasing debt burdens encourage higher interest rates around the world, despite the efforts of leading central banks such as the Federal Reserve Board and its allies to repress yields. The Fed’s recent tapering scheme and its related rhetoric portend eventual increases in policy rates (Fed Funds) and higher yields in the United States Treasury field and elsewhere. Moreover, long run United States interest rate history shows that noteworthy yield increases lead to peaks for and subsequent declines in American signposts such as the S+P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The recent rally in the US dollar undermines prices for emerging marketplace debt instruments (both dollar-denominated sovereign and corporate fields) and thereby emerging marketplace stocks. All else equal, rising interest rates (particularly in the US dollar domain), especially when linked with US dollar appreciation, increase burdens on emerging marketplace sovereign and corporate borrowers.
Convergence and divergence (lead/lag) patterns between marketplaces can change or transform, sometimes dramatically. Marketplace history does not necessarily repeat itself, either entirely or even partly. But marketplace history nevertheless provides guidance regarding the probabilities of future relationships.
America’s S+P 500 and stocks in other advanced nations soared to new highs after February 2021 while emerging marketplace equities have marched downhill (price divergence). However, the chronicle of those two broad marketplace realms at least since the Goldilocks Era of the mid-2000s reveals that their price and time trends tend to coincide. Over the long run, these arenas are bullish (or bearish) “together”. In the current environment of rising American and international yields, that warns of eventual price convergence between the S+P 500 and emerging marketplace stocks. The S+P 500’s record high, 11/22/21’s 4744, occurred near in time to prior interim highs in developing nation equities. These intertwined patterns warn that the S+P 500 probably has established a notable top or soon will do so.
Many pundits label commodities in general as an “asset class”. Like stocks as well as low grade debt securities around the globe, and likewise assisted by yield repression (with UST yields low relative to inflation) and gigantic money printing, the commodities arena in recent years has represented a landscape in which “investors” and other players hunting for good (acceptable, sufficient) “returns” (“yields”) avidly foraged and bought. Sustained falls in commodity prices in general probably will link to (confirm) price slumps in both advanced and emerging marketplace stocks.
Recall past financial crises in the past few decades in emerging (developing) nations (for example, Mexico; “Asian” financial crisis) and other important countries (Russia; Greece and several other Eurozone countries) which substantially influenced marketplace trends in more advanced nations. The “Mexican Peso” crisis emerged in December 1994, the terrifying “Asian” problem in July 1997. Russia’s calamity began around August 1998. The fearsome Eurozone debt troubles walked on stage in late 2009/2010. The coronavirus pandemic obviously has been a very severe global economic problem which has generated international responses by central bankers, politicians, and others. However, at present, no crisis similar to these various past national or regional ones, and which eventually might significantly affect the “world as a whole”, has spread on a sustained basis substantially beyond local (regional) boundaries. However, given current international inflation and debt trends, traders and policy-makers should not overlook minimize signs of and the potential for a genuine, wide-ranging economic crisis (perhaps sparked or exacerbated by the coronavirus situation).
Nowadays, consider country candidates for such dangers like Brazil, South Africa, Pakistan, and Turkey. For many emerging marketplace nations, their significant economic, political, and social divisions and related internecine conflicts can make it especially difficult for them to solve major economic challenges. After all, America is not the only country with significant internal “culture wars”. Though China’s troubled corporate real estate sector is not a nation, its massive size and influence makes it analogous to one. Those with long memories undoubtedly recall the “surprising” (“shocking”) problem uncovered in the United States housing (and related mortgage securities) marketplace (and other areas) during the 2007-09 worldwide economic disaster. Nowadays, if such a substantial predicament appears and is not quickly contained, it likely will be bearish for stock marketplaces around the globe.
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Emerging Marketplaces, Unveiling Danger (12-2-21)