Economic news

Analysis-Emerging market debt sales hit January record despite elusive flows

2024.02.05 07:14


© Reuters. An digital board reveals forex alternate charges in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February 19, 2020. Picture taken by glass. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/File Photo

By Karin Strohecker and Jorgelina do Rosario

LONDON (Reuters) – Sovereign debt sales from creating nations scaled an all-time record for January at $47 billion led by main and fewer dangerous rising markets however an absence of investor flows into devoted funds might curtail a nascent restoration for riskier issuers.

The begin of the yr – usually a busy time for debt sales of all types – has seen Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Hungary, Romania and a raft of others ship some large ticket bond issuance.

At the identical time, flows into devoted rising market debt funds remained within the doldrums.

Year-to-date, buyers pulled about $1.6 billion out of devoted rising market hard-currency funds, in line with Morgan Stanley information. That follows outflows of round $80 billion in 2022 and round half of that once more final yr.

“Usually at this stage you would have seen money starting to come in”, mentioned Paul Greer, portfolio supervisor of rising markets debt and international alternate at Fidelity International.

“I think there’s still a bit of an allocation towards equity markets. That money will eventually come back into fixed income and emerging markets would benefit. It’s just taking longer than I thought,” Greer added.

While the early days of the yr had been dominated by higher-rated issuers, January additionally noticed a reopening of some corners of the fastened revenue major markets that had not too long ago been dormant: Ivory Coast grew to become the primary Sub-Saharan nation to faucet worldwide capital markets in nearly two years. Benin is within the means of following go well with.

But this may transform an exception.

Thys Louw, portfolio supervisor for rising markets laborious forex debt technique at Ninety One, mentioned that the primary concern of the divergence between issuance and flows into these devoted funds implies that excessive yield issuers will not be tapping the markets anytime quickly.

“There’s some cash on the sidelines… but I am still cautious. You will need to see inflows to say ‘Kenya, you can go, Nigeria you can go,” Louw added.

DEPLETED CASH

According to JPMorgan calculations, including coupons to maturities and evaluating to gross issuance ought to have left devoted rising markets laborious forex funds with a $78 billion money pile to speculate over the previous two years. But bearing in mind outflows, that might have shrunk to only $8 billion, the financial institution mentioned in a current be aware to shoppers.

Demand for current issuance, particularly from higher-rated governments, would have additionally come from crossover funds, JPMorgan added. Crossover buyers don’t essentially put money into rising markets however are permitted by their mandates to take action. Lower-rated issuers maintain much less attraction for these asset managers.

“If you split the emerging markets into two halves, the higher quality emerging market debt is traded very similar to Europe,” mentioned Dan Farrell, head of International Short Duration, Northern Trust (NASDAQ:) Asset Management.

“But then if you look at the lower end of the emerging markets, they’re in a very different fiscal space and it’s not actually an attractive option for investors.”

Analysts at Morgan Stanley estimate nearly $165 billion of EM sovereign debt will likely be issued this yr, a roughly 20% enhance on 2023. The financial institution predicts that high-yield issuers Oman, Serbia, Turkey, Bahrain, Uzbekistan and Colombia might all be tapping markets this yr.

Much can even hinge on when and how briskly the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and different G10 central banks will begin slicing rates of interest.

“We have not yet seen a return of stability in rates and macro environment due to still-prevailing uncertainty on the timing of central banks’ policy rates cut for the rest of the year,” mentioned Alexis Taffin de Tilques, head of CEEMEA DCM at BNP Paribas (OTC:). “Markets will focus on the higher-grade issuers.”

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