2013 was not a good year for performance in emerging markets (EM), emerging market fixed income or fixed income in general, outside of U.S. high yield. Interest rates rose, EM currencies generally weakened against the U.S. dollar, and investors were more upbeat about prospects in the developed world than those in the emerging world.
My last blog on Asian equities (represented here by the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Index) discussed my bullish view on this region for 2013 because of relatively attractive valuations and an analysis of forward returns from similarly attractive price points.
After a year that has seen modest regional currency underperformance compared to Emerging Europe and Latin America due to concerns about a prolonged slowdown in China, 2013 could provide a positive backdrop for Asian outperformance as investors shrug off earlier economic concerns. When focusing on fundamentals, we believe the prospects for Asia are indeed some of the brightest across the developed as well as the emerging markets.