JPMorgan Sees a December Bounce Back for Emerging-Market Bonds
(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. says emerging-market bondholders may get some last-minute respite from a money-losing year.
The bank’s index that tracks sovereign bonds of developing nations typically gains in December, with positive returns during 17 of the past 20 years. And Trang Nguyen, JPMorgan’s executive director of emerging-market strategy, said this year shouldn’t be any different.
She said the bar is “fairly low” for a December rebound following the pullback from risk that came amid volatility in the Treasury market and the emergence of the omicron variant of Covid-19.
“Clients already hold high levels of cash,” Nguyen said in an interview. “There’s been some derisking already that’s happened in the past few months. So, if anything, I’d be advocating for investors to be reducing their cash exposure and moving into bonds.”
The developing-nation bonds were stung last month, when surging U.S. inflation, the new covid variant, and speculation about rate hikes from the Federal Reserve rattled global markets. That drove the JPMorgan index to a 1.8% loss, leaving it down some 2.1% for the year.
But they have been staging a steady comeback in December amid expectations that the toll of the omicron variant won’t be as bad as initially feared, helping boost risk taking in global markets. The JPMorgan index has gained each session so far this month.
Nguyen said the previous retreat has left emerging-market bonds already pricing in more risk than other assets.
“When you look at emerging-market credit, it’s cheap on so many different levels,” she said. “It’s cheap versus developed-market credit, it’s cheap versus the fundamental drivers as well.”
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