With the economies of the U.S. and Western Europe falling into or nearing recession, the idea of diversifying one’s portfolio into emerging markets takes on greater significance.
Emerging markets are countries that often fall under or have fallen under the Third World umbrella. They are not fully developed, but rather developing, so continued growth is likely in their future. The fact that emerging markets are usually on a growth path creates the potential to post positive returns, even when developed countries fall into recession.
That’s not to say emerging markets aren’t risky. They’re very risky. These markets are typically small or new economies with a variety of political systems, some of which may be volatile. So markets in emerging countries are subject to greater political, economic and currency risks than those of developed nations. But, the big reason for holding securities from emerging markets (in addition to the possibility of outsized returns) is they have historically had little correlation to developed markets. Even if the individual markets are risky—when used for diversification purposes—emerging markets can reduce a portfolio’s overall risk.
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