Bond expert believes that 'brave' investors should be looking for a rebound in emerging markets

Key Points
  • Brave investors should be looking at emerging markets, an expert at J.P. Morgan Asset Management told CNBC, when asked how trade tensions and political instability were impacting his buying strategy.
  • Easing oil prices and U.S. 10-year yields below 3 percent are also creating favorable conditions in the emerging markets space, a UniCredit strategist said.
  • But, "economic turmoil evident in Argentina and Turkey may be a harbinger of what is in store in other emerging markets such as Brazil," an economist at TS Lombard wrote.
Brave investors should be looking at emerging markets: JP Morgan Asset Management

Worsening trade tensions and political instability will throw up various investment opportunities around the world, according to one strategist, who believes that emerging market (EM) assets could give back solid — albeit risky — returns.

"For the brave and further afield, investors should be looking at emerging markets," Nick Gartside, international chief investment officer of fixed income at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, told CNBC Friday.

Emerging markets have been out of favor this year amid a resurgent U.S. economy. The dollar has pushed higher on the anticipation of more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and American investors have brought their dollars home in the hope of higher returns. The MSCI emerging markets index is down some 12 percent since late January when the greenback started its upward trend.

When asked where to buy, given ratcheting up trade tensions and a potential resolution of the Italian political crisis, Gartside said that following a "brutal May" for bonds denominated in local currencies, these beaten-down EM assets could be a place for investors to look.

Oil prices soften

Several analysts have spoken of the sell-off for emerging markets, suggesting that it could have gone too far. Kiran Kowshik, an emerging markets foreign exchange strategist for UniCredit, told CNBC Thursday that some of the major factors affecting these economies have recently been alleviated.

Concerns about global growth momentum still with us: UniCredit

The "combination of higher oil prices and higher U.S. 10-year yields" which had been pushing down emerging markets has somewhat eased, he said. "These countries typically get bitten when higher oil prices are in place, as well as higher U.S. yields. Both of them – related drivers – have come off," he said.

Oil prices hit multi-year highs in early May after the U.S. said that it would impose fresh sanctions on Iran. But more recently, major producers Russia and Saudi Arabia signaled that production could increase. Meanwhile, U.S. 10-year Treasury yields pushed above 3 percent earlier in May, but have since dropped below this level.

"This new dynamic should help a number of EM (emerging market) currencies trade better against both the euro and the U.S. dollar," Kowshik said in an accompanying note.

'Individual countries could be punished'

While experts might be optimistic of a rebound for the asset class, some warn that certain countries should be still be avoided due to very specific conditions. Laurence Brainard, chief economist for emerging markets at TS Lombard, believes that volatility from the troubled markets of Argentina and Turkey could threaten the space more broadly.

"The economic turmoil evident in Argentina and Turkey may be a harbinger of what is in store for other EMs, such as Brazil," he said.

Still opportunities across emerging markets, strategist says

Argentina's President Mauricio Marci announced in May that the country would restart talks with the International Monetary Fund, seeking credit of over $19.7 billion. According to Reuters, the central bank's benchmark interest rate of 40 percent is the highest in the world.

Meanwhile in Turkey, high inflation, a widening current account deficit and a lack of investor faith in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's economic policies has spelled bad news for the currency. It has fallen by around 20 percent against the U.S. dollar this year.

"Individual countries could be punished by markets because their economic situations are not considered viable in a scenario of global liquidity," Brainard said in research note this week. Argentina and Turkey's recent fates "highlight that such a scenario is possible — likely, even — without global liquidity conditions having yet changed to any significant extent."