Frontier Markets – Now Part of Mainstream (Media) Thinking?

As noted in a recent US News & World Report article, many investors are engaged in the hunt for the next generation of emerging markets.  And, as we’ve discussed in this blog before, Goldman Sachs has identified 11 countries with BRIC-like possibilities, which include mainstream emerging markets like South Korea and Mexico as well as the more germinal economies of Pakistan and Nigeria. By the year 2050, Goldman says, the combined economies of the “Next 11” could reach two-thirds the size of the G-7 nations.  As the article notes:

“…Some intrepid money managers are scouting for untapped investing opportunities in such far-out locales as Namibia, Bangladesh, and Kazakhstan. “As mainstream emerging markets move to become high-income economies, it makes sense to look at countries that are still in an embryonic stage of development….”

…Look to Africa. So what’s driving these markets? The global boom in commodities has sent a flood of investors into mineral-rich regions like sub-Saharan Africa and the oil-exporting nations of the Middle East. The investing climate is improving in some African countries, and investors are finding bargains in banks (which are often among the first beneficiaries of economic growth), wireless carriers, and construction companies…. The fund’s top holdings cover Orascom Construction Industries of Egypt, the largest contractor in the Middle East, and United Bank for Africa, the product of a recent merger of two of Nigeria’s largest banks.

Frontier markets have more to offer investors than natural resources. Middle Eastern countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are diversifying away from oil and into real estate, tourism, and other industries. Meanwhile, rising consumer demand is drawing investors to a host of countries, including Iran, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam. Standard & Poor’s Frontier Markets index returned an annualized 37 percent over the past five years, topping the 32 percent average yearly gain of the MSCI Emerging Markets index. As a group, frontier markets are less volatile than you’d expect, says Deseglise. “The individual countries can be very volatile, but consider the likelihood that Nigeria would move in sync with Vietnam,” he says. Frontier markets’ low correlation to developed markets also means more diversification potential for individual portfolios….”

This entry was posted on Monday, January 7th, 2008 at 2:39 pm and is filed under Bangladesh, Iran, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Orascom Construction Industries, Vietnam.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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Wildcats & Black Sheep is a personal interest blog dedicated to the identification and evaluation of maverick investment opportunities arising in frontier - and, what some may consider to be, “rogue” or “black sheep” - markets around the world.

Focusing primarily on The New Seven Sisters - the largely state owned petroleum companies from the emerging world that have become key players in the oil & gas industry as identified by Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent for The Financial Times - but spanning other nascent opportunities around the globe that may hold potential in the years ahead, Wildcats & Black Sheep is a place for the adventurous to contemplate & evaluate the emerging markets of tomorrow.