investment Education Factsheet

Emerging markets 

December 2015

Emerging markets (EM) is a term used to describe the economies and stock markets of countries experiencing rapid growth and industrialisation; many people think of them as the countries moving from developing (or third world) status to becoming developed nations.

There are approximately 100 countries currently accepted as emerging markets, with Brazil, Russia, India and China (also known as the BRIC countries) being the fastest growing developing economies. (India and China accounting for 40% of these).

Emerging countries are expected to grow faster than developed nations like the US according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates in the longer term. The IMF also forecasts that the world economy will grow at around 3.8 percent in 2016. Emerging markets, if used effectively, can offer significant investment opportunities and provide greater diversity in an investment portfolio. They behave differently to developed nation markets. Improving economies in developed nations has turned the rapid growth of emerging markets around during 2014-15.  The latest IMF projections are that there will be a gradual global recovery with advanced economies strengthening and emerging markets slowing.

First introduced as an investment focus in the 1980s, those countries initially made a lot of money available for businesses. However, during the mid to late 1990s, various emerging market stocks performed poorly and gave the perception of emerging markets as highly volatile and risky despite their long term results being positive.

Emerging markets are now managed differently for investment purposes and various factors are greatly reducing the fluctuations previously seen in this segment.

What makes emerging markets different and attractive?

In contrast to other markets, emerging markets are usually:

  • regional economic powerhouses with large populations, large resource bases and large markets
  • transitional societies undertaking domestic economic and political reform
  • amongst the world’s fastest growing economies, contributing to a large part of the world’s trade
  • critical participants in the political, economic and social affairs of the world.

One of the factors which has led to the emergence of emerging markets is the need for these countries to seek capital to finance their development. Many emerging markets use fiscal policy to help boost demand and longer run growth through tax reform and prioritised spending. Structural reforms are in progress to help raise productivity, removing bottlenecks to production, which is urgently needed in many economies. 

The risks associated with emerging markets can be similar to the risks in established markets, with additional challenges because of the difficulty in assessing those risks. Specific risks include language and cultural barriers, differing business practices and requirements, variations in regulations and laws, and political environments.

As emerging markets tend to have a younger population base, higher population growth and rapidly increasing income levels compared to developed nations, they are forecast to have a higher potential of economic growth and the potential for good long term investment returns.

As a specialist asset class, there are a lot of specific investment and tax issues that need to be assessed so using an experienced asset manager may be a wise choice.

AvSuper’s emerging markets exposure

AvSuper’s profit-for-member approach means all investment decisions are made to benefit members over the long term and help you build your retirement savings in an effective and prudent manner. We use a range of investment managers to ensure members’ money is invested to meet specific objectives and strategies.

On average, AvSuper has an emerging markets exposure of about 12% of our total international equities portfolio, using fund managers with significant experience in researching emerging economies and with long term commitments to investing in these dynamic emerging markets.


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This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. Before making a decision about AvSuper, you should consider your own requirements and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). For a copy call us or visit the AvSuper website, AvSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 46 050 431 797, AFSL 239078) is the Trustee of the AvSuper Fund (ABN 84 421 446 069). FS5020.5 12.2015

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