Despite solid gains in January, emerging markets (EMs) are once again the subject of underweight calls, with some analysts predicting a full-blown crash.
A crisis in EMs could develop as early as this year, Atul Lele, CIO of Deltec International Group, told CNBC on Wednesday, citing a mix of declining U.S. dollar liquidity and falling commodity prices.
Such bearish views stand in contrast with EM's recent outperformance. MSCI's Emerging Markets Index rose more than 3 percent this past month, compared with losses in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500. Meanwhile, a survey from Societe Generale in January revealed 70 percent of clients were bullish on EMs, nearly a one-year high.
"The fact that U.S. dollar liquidity is slowing means emerging markets are not able to fund themselves as effectively anymore," Lele said, referring to the Federal Reserve's tapering of its monthly bond-buying program.
The Institute of International Finance recently projected a decline in total EM inflows for a second straight year in 2015 primarily due to the possibility of a U.S. interest rate hike.
"While many large EMs with well-known vulnerabilities have sought to strengthen their macro policy frameworks, and benefit from lower oil prices, analysis of past Fed tightening cycles suggests risks of heightened incidence of EM crises during the year ahead," the organization said in a report last month.