Sunday, December 16, 2007

Investing beyond emerging markets - the frontier markets

For those with the risk tolerance to handle them, frontier markets offer potential big returns (free WSJ Digg Link).

Long overlooked by all but the most intrepid investors, frontier markets are attracting increasing attention in spite of their small size and often patchy infrastructure. In terms of geography, they are a diverse bunch, ranging from quasideveloped markets in Eastern Europe, to oil exporters in the Persian Gulf, to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

Bigger and better-known developing markets such as India and China are famous for their rapid economic growth, but a similar process is also unfolding in many out-of-the-way markets. The countries of sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, are projected to grow 6.8% in 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund, while Kazakhstan is set to expand by nearly 8%. Booming commodity prices, growing investment, and efforts to rein in debt have contributed to the rosier picture.

How an individual can get in

The article gives ways for individuals to get into these markets:
For individual investors, getting dedicated exposure to these markets is tough. T. Rowe Price Group Inc.'s three-month-old Africa & Middle East fund is open to small investors, as is a listed London-based frontier fund run by Progressive Developing Markets Ltd.