World Markets

Mark Mobius' top conviction: Buy commodities

Why more defaults will occur in China
Why more defaults will occur in China

While the price outlook for many commodities remains bleak, veteran investor Mark Mobius recommends positioning for a recovery in the beleaguered asset class.

"Right now it's commodities believe it or not, they are so far out of favor," Mobius, executive chairman at Templeton Emerging Markets Group, told CNBC when asked what his top conviction call was.

"No one knows what's going to happen next in terms of the military situation in the Middle East, so oil is something you've got to watch. I think there will be a recovery," he added.

Mark Mobius
David Rochkind | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After an over 50 percent collapse in oil prices between June 2014 and January this year, stability has returned to the crude market in recent months.

However, the same cannot be said for other commodities such as iron ore – which saw prices plunge to a decade low earlier this month on concerns over a glut of supply.

Mobius, however, expects supply-demand imbalances in the commodities sector will correct over time.

"Demand for iron ore and all these commodities is going to continue. Of course we've had a slump recently, but global economic growth continues. This is just temporary," he said.

On iron ore, for example, he said the price declines will force many marginal producers to shut down production resulting in a more balanced supply-demand environment.

Top 3 country allocations

Discussing other investment opportunities, Mobius said China has the largest weighting in his portfolio, followed by India and Thailand.

"In China, we are in the banks and we are also looking at the smaller medium cap consumer stocks," Mobius said.

He expects large, state-owned banks will be able to withstand corporate default episodes that may occur amid a slowdown in the economy.

"It'll be the smaller banks and the smaller financial institutions that you have to watch for," he said.

On India, Mobius said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is headed in the right direction with reforms. However, he expressed some concern over the speed of progress.

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"It's very difficult in a country like India, where you have a lot of local power. They don't want to change at the state level," he said.

"You're going to have patchy situations, where one state will do very well [because] they'll do the reforms, another state will not. So for private investors they will have to be very careful. It will be difficult to achieve it at a national level," he added.

To guard against such risks, Mobius said he prefers to invest in export-oriented companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and large domestic conglomerates like Reliance Industries.

With Thailand, meantime, he isn't as overly concerned about the backdrop of political uncertainty.

"Thailand companies, despite the political environment, do very well. They are well run, very efficient," he said. "Now with the widening of their trade with the rest of ASEAN, this is going to be a good spot to be in."