January was the first time in 6 months that the MSCI Emerging Markets Index outpaced the S&P 500 as it gained 0.6%. Investors sent $18 billion into emerging market stocks and bonds, after an outflow of $11 billion in December. Analysts note that low commodity prices allow for quick growth in these emerging economies. As emerging markets go through reforms in order to stabilize their currencies or stimulate growth in their economies, investors see this as an opportunity to obtain higher returns.
Some countries receiving a greater amount of focus from investors are India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Taiwan. India is an oil importer and has a growth driven government, putting it in a good position for the coming months. Indonesia has a government focused on reform, which attracts investors during this global growth stage. As for Mexico and Taiwan, analysts explain that these economies will receive a boost from a recovering United States economy. Also creating optimism for investors was the European Central Bank’s decision to adopt a 1 trillion euro stimulus plan. This is seen as a stabilizing action in the global financial markets.
The declining oil prices are seen as a major concern by some, but of countries meeting the emerging markets definition, Russia and Venezuela are the only two that are major oil exporters. As a whole, the current level of oil prices should benefit most developing countries, allowing them to import the commodity at a low price. An update on oil prices can be seen in our recent post “2015 Oil Outlook”. The global oil market is oversupplied by approximately 1.5 million barrels a day as fracking methods become more productive and more widely used. Prices are expected to remain low until the global production slows or the global economy turns around.