Emerging Market Bonds Land High Returns

Seek: Local-currency debt

Avoid: US-dollar denominated debt

World Expo 2010
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World Expo 2010

Even if you’re on the "staycation" plan this year, your investments can land in exotic places—like Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico—and yield attractive returns in emerging market bonds.

“There is plenty of room for emerging-market debt that is denominated in its own country’s currency,” Zane Brown, a fixed-income strategist and director of Lord Abbett, told CNBC Friday.

Buying in the country’s currency (versus the US dollar) yields double the return in some instances, said Brown. Brown has 20 years of experience in the business.

You can realize an 11.5 percent return by buying in the real (Brazilian currency), as opposed 4.9 percent with the US dollar; using the Indonesian rupiah, that’s an 8 percent return versus 4.5 percent in dollars; buying bonds in the Mexican peso will yield 6.2 percent, rather than 4.1 percent with US money.

The year-to-date returns for 10-year bonds inBrazil, Indonesia and Mexico have been 22.8 percent, 25 percent and 16 percent respectively. During the same time, the S&P 500 has dropped 4 percent.

Brown expects returns to continue to rise, although probably not by another 20 percent or so.

He added that Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico have neutral monetary policies, which “enforces the idea that there’s not a lot of inflation to erode your returns.”

“We do have a great income stream and probably some additional price appreciation as well,” said Brown. “Keep in mind that the bond bubble that people talk about is here in the US, where people have bid up prices.”