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Emerging market rebound looks set to stretch into 2020 with Asia leading prospects


EMERGING markets (EM) are about to embark on another year of wealth creation after adding US$11 trillion to investor portfolios in the past decade.

Developing-nation assets will outperform their developed peers, with Asia having the best prospects, according to Bloomberg's survey of 57 global investors, strategists and traders on their outlook for next year.

Total wealth in emerging-market stocks and bonds now exceeds US$25 trillion, bigger than the economies of the US and Germany combined.

The US-China trade dispute that dictated market moves throughout 2019 will remain the biggest driving force, while China's growth outlook eclipsed Federal Reserve monetary policy to be the second-most important factor.

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After a wave of global easing led to more than US$11 trillion in negative-yielding debt, the haven pile will be less of a focus as some central banks enter holding patterns from easier monetary policies.

All emerging-market assets - currencies, stocks and bonds - are making a comeback this year after posting their largest losses in three years in 2018 as the Fed led global central banks in cutting benchmark rates to support flagging growth.

Russia's ruble, the best-performing emerging currency so far this year, overtook the Brazilian real to become the top pick in 2020, while Indonesia was the most favoured for both bonds and stocks.

"I'm still quite bullish on emerging markets heading into 2020," said Takeshi Yokouchi, a Tokyo-based senior fund manager at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management, which oversees the equivalent of US$160 billion in assets.

"Underlying supporting factors for EM still remain with very low rates globally, and that will encourage investors to look at higher-yielding assets."

The combined equity values of 26 nations listed by MSCI as developing markets increased by US$6.6 trillion since the end of 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg Barclays bond indexes that cover a larger swathe of emerging economies show that local-currency bonds added US$2.9 trillion, US dollar bonds added US$1.7 trillion and euro-denominated securities added US$237 billion during the period.

Asia maintained its top position for currencies and stocks, while Latin America, which was plagued by a rise in political unrest this year, overtook Asia for bonds.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa were the least favoured for bonds and equities, but moved one notch up for currencies.

High-yielding assets dominated the top spots across the regions, underscoring continued demand. BLOOMBERG

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