Fears of China Slowdown a Buying Opportunity: Asset Manager
As investors flee Latin American markets on fears that commodity-hungry China will slow down, now could be the time to pick up bargains, Will Landers, who manages BlackRock’s Latin American portfolio, told CNBC.com.
“[Latin American] stock markets are trading at their lowest levels since 2008,” he said. “Companies have strong balance sheets. Two-thirds of assets to companies are tied to domestic areas of the equation rather than global trade plays.”
Plus, China’s economic slowdown is not as bad as the market is currently pricing in, Landers went on to say.
“There’s something not right in the market right now. You usually don’t get to buy a stock that gets you growth and value," he said. "They’re trading at discounted multiples.”
Although China's appetite for commodities is cooling, the supply-demand balance will remain in favor of commodity suppliers in Latin America, as long as China grows in the high single digits. For example, Landers is bullish on Brazilian iron ore supplier Vale .
"I'm not that concerned about my Vale positions," he said. "Prices may come down, but they're not coming down to levels that I think will be an issue for where companies are trading right now."
Landers also likes Brazilian banks Itau and Bradesco, and InBev.
If China's economy does make a hard landing, Latin America would be affected, pointed out Antonio Alves, head of short-term finance for Latin America at the International Finance Corp. For the emerging markets investor, however, it's the least risky region right now.
“A lot of governments in Latin America are trying to diversify the drivers of the economy — invest in the manufacturing industry to become less dependent on exports of raw material,” he said.
Brazil, for one, is exporting aircrafts and developing its auto industry, he pointed out.
"I'm excited that Latin America is trading at slow multiples," said BlackRock's Landers. "It actually underperformed the world in the last year, despite the fact that it doesn't have any of the [debt] problems we're dealing with in Europe and the U.S."
He added: "It has strong reserves; banks are well funded and capitalized."
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Disclosure information was not available for Will Landers or his company.