今年，新兴市场特别不稳定。中国经济陷入停滞，巴西和埃及政局动荡。年初，由于担心美联储（Fed）可能压缩债券购买规模，MSCI新兴市场指数（MSCI Emerging Market Index）今年夏天大幅下跌。直到美联储出人意料地决定维持债券购买规模不变，这个指数才迅速反弹。虽然有美联储带来的反弹，MSCI新兴市场指数今年仍然下跌了5.3%。在此期间，标普500指数（S&P 500）却一路高歌猛进，涨幅高达27%。
然而，两国令人不安的局势似乎没有对投资者产生影响。实际上，MSCI新兴市场指数上周一反而出现了上涨。俄罗斯规模最大的纯交易所交易基金（ETF）The Market Vectors Russia Index ETF当天上扬了0.75%，此前的一个周末乌克兰示威者在基辅市中心推倒列宁像的时间并没有产生不利影响。泰国的SET指数周一也高收0.43%。
The eruption of popular protests in Thailand and Ukraine over the weekend shouldn't be taken so lightly by emerging markets investors. The two seemingly unrelated disturbances both revolve around deep-seated and unresolved political issues, which have been simmering for years. Should either of them actually blow, the resulting toxic fallout could have dire economic consequences for their neighbors and deliver yet another pelting to investors.
The emerging markets have been particularly volatile this year with growth stalling in China and political upheavals disrupting Brazil and Egypt. Worries that the U.S. was set to curb its bond buying program earlier this year sent the MSCI Emerging Market Index plummeting in the summer, only to rebound quickly thereafter when the Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to keep the program running at full blast. Despite the pullback by the Fed, the MSCI is still down 5.3% on the year. That compares with the S&P 500 (SPX), which has shot up a bubbly 27% during the same time period.
But the quest for yield has led investors back into the emerging markets, with billions of dollars pouring in from investors in the U.S. and Europe. Argentina's Merval stock market has jumped nearly 70% since July, for example, while EM companies have sold a whopping $71 billion worth in bonds from June to November, according to Dealogic. Clearly, EM is back -- or that is what investors have been led to believe.
Take what is going on currently in the Ukraine and Thailand, emerging market darlings for their respective orbits in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Protests in both countries have quickly consumed the political and economic hearts of both countries and threaten to throw EM investors yet another curve ball.
In Thailand, corruption at the highest levels of power has stunted the peaceful nation's economic growth prospects for nearly a decade. The people have grown tired of it and this weekend, after weeks of protests, were able to push the Prime Minister to dissolve parliament and call for new elections. Disruption continues in Bangkok as the Prime Minister has refused to step down before the elections.
In Ukraine, years of political infighting between those loyal to their former Russian overlords and those who want to forge closer ties with the European Union has left the country in economic limbo. But protests there went into overdrive this weekend after the government scrapped a trade agreement with the European Union at the behest of Russia, who wants Ukraine to remain in their orbit. Ukrainian patriots want new elections so that they can purge their corrupt government of officials who they believe put the interests of Moscow over that of the Ukrainian people. Fighting there intensified Tuesday night as protestors occupied the central square in Kiev.
But investors seemed to shrug off these two worrisome developments, indeed, the MSCI EM index actually strengthened on Monday. The Market Vectors Russia index (RSX), the largest dedicated Russian ETF, was up 0.75% on Monday, even though Ukrainian protesters tore down a statue of Lenin in central Kiev over the weekend. Thailand's SET stock index also gained on Monday, up 0.43%.
The stronger numbers would seem to suggest that all is well, even though that is clearly not the case. It appears that some investors have developed "protest fatigue" and are choosing to simply ignore the conflagrations in Ukraine and Thailand. The fatigue emanates from the deluge of "people power" uprisings in a number of emerging markets this year, many of which simply fizzled out. Apparently, the markets believe that will be the case in these two incidents as well.