We are not in normal times. The consequences of a global pandemic juxtaposed with truly unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimuli will be with us for many years to come. Emerging markets have traditionally underperformed in a risky environment but, in general, we believe the behavior of the asset class has not been as bad as many might have predicted. A large part of the negative outcome was generated by the abnormal strength of the U.S. dollar, driven by a global “shortage” of dollars. This has started to normalize and we continue to have a reasonable hope for U.S. dollar stability in the coming quarters. Whilst it may not matter in the short term, emerging markets currencies are cheap, particularly versus the U.S. dollar.

Whilst the overall impact of the pandemic has been very negative across all equity asset classes, there is some silver lining in a very dark cloud. It is clear that the golden era of globalization has gone and concentrated supply chains will be increasingly questioned. The “business model” of many emerging countries as they progress from low to middle income was predicated on cheap labor and the comparative advantage that this endowed. Either that or as a supplier of significant commodity resources. We believe both “models” will be increasingly challenged in the future and successful emerging markets economies will be based on innovation, education, domestic demand and consumption. Industries such as healthcare, e-commerce and education may be the most fruitful areas of investment going forward, we believe. And one consequence of the pandemic is that it accelerates trends in some of these areas and changes behaviors towards increased consumption of certain parts of these industries.

MVIS Russia Index vs. MVIS Brazil Index vs. MVIS India Index vs.
MVIS Indonesia Index


Source: MV Index Solutions, Data as of 03/31/2020

About the Author:

David Semple joined VanEck in 1998. He serves as Portfolio Manager for VanEck’s Emerging Markets Equity Strategy and oversees the Emerging Markets Equity Team. He is responsible for company research, stock selection, and portfolio construction.
Mr. Semple is a veteran of emerging markets investing, with over 29 years of experience. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Semple was a portfolio manager for Asian-focused funds and served on the team sub-advising VanEck’s VIP Emerging Markets Fund at Peregrine Asset Management (Hong Kong). From 1993 to 1996, he served as sales director and regional strategist at Peregrine Brokerage. Prior to 1993, Mr. Semple was a portfolio manager specializing in Asia equity markets at Murray Johnstone (Glasgow).
Mr. Semple is a member of the CFA Institute and the Association of Investment Management and Research. He received a Bachelor of Law with Honours from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has had numerous media appearances, including CNBC, Bloomberg, and NPR. Additionally, he has been quoted in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Barron’s, among others.

The article above is an opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of MV Index Solutions or its affiliates.