Investing In Emerging Markets: A Guide For Developing Countries

Investing In Emerging Markets: A Guide For Developing Countries

Emerging markets are nations that are industrializing quickly and enjoying significant economic growth, but they do not yet have completely mature economies. Brazil, Russia, India, and China, also known as the “BRIC” countries, are the four biggest emerging markets. In the upcoming years, it is anticipated that the “CIVETS” nations—Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa—will gain in importance as rising markets. 

As of 2021, around 6.2 billion people, or 78 percent of the world’s population, were residing in developing market nations.

Investing in these markets has enormous growth potential as these nations advance in terms of economic development, income, education, life expectancy, and the emergence of the middle class. Comparatively speaking, investing in emerging markets is riskier than doing so in developed ones. This post will teach you how to invest in emerging markets and the hazards you should be aware of.

Four Steps to Investing in Emerging Markets

Even for novice investors, investing in emerging countries is rather straightforward. All you need to start investing in regions of the world that are seeing significant growth is a brokerage account. In fact, if you use a robo-advisor service, it’s possible that you’re already investing in these regions of the world because some of these firms will assign a portion of your portfolio to emerging countries as part of a growth and diversification strategy.

1.Create an Account

You’ll need an investment account before you can begin investing in emerging markets. Through a brokerage company, you might open an IRA, either a Roth IRA or a standard IRA. An alternative is to open a taxable brokerage account. You may also have the choice to allocate a portion of your investments to developing markets if you have a 401(k) or other workplace-sponsored retirement plan, most likely through a mutual fund.

2.Account Financing

You must fund an account after you’ve opened one. For 2021 and 2022, you can make IRA contributions of up to $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. Four payroll deferrals will be used to finance your 401(k) if you want to do so. In 2022, the average workplace plan’s contribution cap will be $20,500, or $27,000 for employees over the age of 50. Contributions to taxable brokerage accounts are not restricted in any way.

  1. Determine the type of investment.

It’s time to do some study into the emerging market investments you wish to make. Several options to think about

One way to invest in emerging markets is through stocks in developing nations with rapidly growing economies. On American stock markets, some foreign stocks are traded, frequently using American depositary receipts (ADRs). ADRs are traded like domestic stocks and represent one or more shares of a foreign company. In place of the NYSE or Nasdaq, certain ADRs are traded on over-the-counter platforms. 

Bonds issued by governments or businesses in emerging market nations are another alternative for investors. Bond purchases make you a creditor. Until the bond’s maturity date, when you receive your principal back, you will receive fixed interest payments. There are additional risks associated with investing in emerging market bonds, such as currency risk. A broker with foreign experience is also necessary.

Emerging market mutual funds and exchange-traded funds are excellent choices for investors looking to diversify their portfolios (ETFs). The risk is lower compared to buying individual stocks and bonds because they offer you a basket of securities, which is frequently hundreds or more. You can purchase a fund that makes broad investments in developing markets, such as the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), which holds more than 5,300 global securities. You can also put money into a fund that concentrates on a particular emerging market or region. The VanEck Russia ETF (RSX), for instance, invests in 29 Russian-based holdings. 8. Alternately, you might put money into a fund that only invests in dividend-paying equities in emerging economies or small-capitalization stocks.

Purchasing a real estate investment trust (REIT) is similar to purchasing a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) with a real estate focus. If you want to invest in real estate in regions of the world that are economically developing, an emerging market REIT can be a suitable choice.

  1. Making a financial investment.

It’s time to make your first emerging market investment once you’ve opened and financed your account, done your research on the assets available, and reviewed your options. Just remember to factor in the tax implications. Unless you invest in a tax-advantaged account like an IRA, you will be responsible for paying capital gains taxes if you sell any investments for a profit.

You can incur foreign taxes if you invest in overseas stocks. To avoid paying taxes twice, you might be able to claim a tax credit or deduction. Make sure to talk to a tax expert about your choices.

How to Prepare for an Investment in Emerging Markets

It’s crucial to remember that, while previous performance does not guarantee future outcomes, developing markets have underperformed in comparison to U.S. stocks in recent years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which tracks the performance of over 1,400 equities in 25 emerging market countries, had generated an average annual gain of 5.49 percent over the previous ten years as of December 2021.10. The S&P 500 index’s average annualized returns for the past ten years, as of January 20, 2022, were 13.04 percent. 

Recognize the Risks Associated with Investing in Emerging Markets.

For investors, emerging markets have significant growth potential. They carry a higher risk than investing in established markets, nevertheless. Like any investment, there is a chance that a particular business may fail or that the stock market will tank. But the following dangers are far more prevalent in emerging markets:

Political risk: the possibility that political unrest or graft will obstruct economic growth and lower profitability.

Economic risk: Growth may be threatened by labor or material shortages, inflation or deflation, an unstable monetary system, or insufficient regulation.

Currency risk: If the value of a currency plummets, investment gains may be severely reduced. In developing market nations, where currencies are frequently unstable, this poses a serious concern.

Investing in Emerging Markets: Pros and Cons


  • high potential for growth.
  • Diversification


  • greater risk
  • lack of knowledge.
  • minimal liquidity

Pros Presented

Substantial growth potential: The possibility for high returns is the main benefit of investing in emerging markets. In terms of gross domestic product, the U.S. economy expanded by 3.8 times between 1969 and 2019. (GDP). Compare it to the GDP growth rates over the same period in China (73.6 times), South Korea (28.1 times), and India (14.1 times).

Diversification: Investing in emerging economies to a greater extent than only U.S. equities and bonds results in a more diversified portfolio. Some financial organizations advise investing up to 40% of your stock portfolio in foreign stocks and up to 30% of your bond portfolio in foreign securities. (Remember that both developed and emerging markets are represented in this allocation.)

Emerging markets account for 15 to 20% of all global markets.

Cons Explanation

Larger returns may be achievable, but there is also a greater risk associated with emerging markets. Greater risks can result from changes in currency, the potential for political unrest and corruption, and a lack of infrastructure.

Lack of information: It might be challenging to find data on emerging markets. Sometimes, official data is inaccurate or out of date. Data interpretations are vulnerable to vast variations and cultural biases.

ADRs are a popular way to invest in foreign companies: notably those from emerging markets. However, some ADRs have little liquidity, making it difficult to convert them to cash. This can result in wide bid/ask spreads. For stocks from emerging markets that don’t trade on a major U.S. stock exchange and don’t have an ADR, liquidity risk is also substantial.

How to Get Started with Emerging Markets Investing

Creating an Account

You will need to open a brokerage account or utilize an investment app in order to begin investing in emerging markets. While some platforms let you open an account with no minimum, you’ll still need to fund it or link it to your bank account before you can make your first purchase.

By entering some necessary details like your name, address, and Social Security or tax identification number, you can open an account in a matter of minutes. Additionally, you can be asked for information from a government-issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license. You’ll probably be questioned about your earnings and employment situation, in addition to a few inquiries regarding your risk tolerance.

Choose which investments in emerging markets to purchase.

An ETF or mutual fund is the simplest way to invest in emerging economies. In addition to avoiding some of the complications associated with particular emerging market equities and bonds, you gain instant diversification.

No matter how you choose to invest in emerging countries, do your homework first. The corporation must submit information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and usually adhere to U.S. accounting standards if you buy an ADR that is listed on a U.S. stock exchange. 

Purchase Your First Item

After choosing your assets in emerging markets, it’s time to complete your first transaction. Most securities are subject to the SEC’s two-day settlement rule, or T+2 rule, which states that transactions in most securities must be completed within two business days after the trading date. 

The T+2 rule is applicable if you’re trading an ETF or mutual fund that is registered with a U.S. investment company and follows emerging markets. ADRs are likewise subject to the T+2 rule. When purchasing equities from emerging countries on over-the-counter exchanges, you should confirm the regulations in the nation where the company is headquartered.

Observations after Investing in Emerging Markets

Investments in emerging markets are frequently very volatile. Before choosing to invest in these kinds of assets, take into account your ability to withstand significant swings. All the standard investing guidelines are applicable to emerging markets. The objective is to purchase low and sell high. This implies that you’ll frequently have to defy the crowd. When bad news sends your investment down, don’t panic and sell. In a similar vein, you shouldn’t purchase something while everyone else is racing to make investments in emerging economies.

Periodically reviewing your portfolio is also necessary. Your ideal asset allocation will alter as your financial objectives change. For instance, you can usually afford to take more risks when you’re in your 20s or 30s than when you’re just a few years away from retirement. Therefore, if you have a lengthy time horizon, you might choose to invest more aggressively in emerging markets before switching to more cautious options.

Do Emerging Market Investments Make Sense?

There isn’t a universal solution to this. Investing in emerging markets can help you diversify your portfolio and take advantage of regions with strong economic growth. However, emerging markets might not be the ideal investment option if you have a low risk tolerance or might require your money in a few years.

Start small when making investments in emerging markets. You might restrict emerging markets to just a modest portion of your portfolio, like 5%. If you determine investing in this manner fulfills your needs as you gain experience, you can move more of your investments to emerging markets.

Questions and Answers (FAQs)

How do novice investors get started in emerging markets?

Through a brokerage account or investment app, novice investors can purchase securities in emerging markets. Or you may be able to invest a portion of your retirement assets in funds that invest in developing markets. When deciding how much money to invest in emerging markets, take your risk tolerance into account.

I want to invest in emerging markets, but how much money do I need?

No Some platforms don’t have any minimal requirements for account opening. You can frequently use dollar-cost averaging and put a certain amount of money into emerging market mutual funds each month. Additionally, a lot of sites let you invest in fractional shares, which enables you to purchase equities, including ADRs and ETFs, for as little as $1.

How should one invest in emerging markets?

An emerging market ETF or mutual fund is the simplest way to begin investing in emerging markets. You can invest broadly across regions of the world experiencing rapid economic growth by using an emerging market fund. You can use ADRs to invest in certain companies as you gain more knowledge about emerging markets.

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