Emerging markets still hold promise after rally: Schroders

While a lot of easy money has been made, South Korea and Russia still offer value among emerging markets, said Mr Tom Wilson, head of emerging market equities at Schroders.

South Korea benefits from the recovery in global trade, and valuations are cheap, he noted, adding: "A healthy economic environment, plus attractive valuations, and an underlying corporate governance story support a re-rating as well."

Russia, meanwhile, has adjusted after the oil price crash and the economy is coming out of a recession even as valuations are cheap, he said.

He also likes Europe's other smaller emerging markets like Hungary and Poland, noting they are at a favourable point of the economic cycle.

Mr Wilson was speaking as a global stock market rally lifted emerging markets around the world. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is up more than 30 per cent this year.

Asked about Hong Kong shares, which have been on a tear, he said they are not at a stage where he is nervous about valuations.

Sector-wise, Mr Wilson still likes the information technology (IT) industry although he has been pruning some positions in the electronic components sub-sector.

Fund managers within the company have been discussing how the IT cycle has been longer than originally expected, due to demand for Internet of Things components and servers.

Another favoured sector is financials, such as insurance firms. In China, there is a good long-term penetration opportunity, he said.

He is also exposed to energy names in Russia and China.

But in South-east Asia, Mr Wilson's team struggles to find compelling ideas at attractive valuations. Malaysia is expensively valued, while Indonesia is not as interesting, relatively speaking.

Overall, emerging market valuations are somewhere in the middle, he said.

"It's not as if we're blind to risks," he said, pointing out that Mexican equities are less attractive due to potential risks over trade.

"We are conscious of monetary policy globally. The base case is okay, but we need to watch for an acceleration in US inflation which will spoil the party," he added.

Cai Haoxiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'Emerging markets still hold promise after rally: Schroders'. Print Edition | Subscribe