West indian countries

Letter: South and East Asian countries offer the best places to invest

It is time for the Financial Times to abandon the use of the “emerging markets” generalization, a lazy way of covering the majority of the world (Big Read, February 16).

Whatever the problems of a few medium-sized economies like Turkey and Argentina and myriad small ones like Belize and Suriname, a simple glance at exchange rates alone would show levels of confidence sustained in the vast majority of countries in South and East Asia. .

The currencies of these predominantly outward-looking economies have been stronger than the euro and the yen over the past year. The currencies of Vietnam and Taiwan appreciated against a strong US dollar and the currencies of India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea and the Philippines were roughly flat in trade-weighted terms. Sri Lanka may be in crisis, but Bangladesh’s much larger economy has been growing, albeit slowly, throughout the pandemic.

There is little evidence of a worrying increase in external debt in this key region, although national currency debt has necessarily increased as everywhere.

Although some economies, including India and the Philippines, have been hit particularly hard in 2020, India leads the world with rebounding growth of 12% in 2021 and Indonesia’s gross domestic product is back on track. above its 2019 level.

Growth is back in Kazakhstan and has never stopped in Uzbekistan, the most populous state in Central Asia. The inflationary impact of supply chain issues so far appears to be greater in rich countries, as most commodity prices have been supported. Future growth will be held back by demographics everywhere, particularly in Europe and China, but there is no indication that younger, well-managed countries will not remain the best places to invest.

Philip Bowring
hong kong


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