Safest Emerging Stocks in Markets With Less to Lose in China

  • Poland, India reap benefits of weak exports to China
  • Mexico, South Korea among riskiest after China devalues yuan

Poland and India have provided the best refuge for emerging-market stock investors since China devalued the yuan two weeks ago.

While equities from China to Brazil have tumbled since the surprise devaluation on Aug. 11, Poland’s benchmark WIG20 Index has posted the best performance among the 30 largest developing markets relative to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and adjusted for price swings, followed by Morocco and India. 

More than $8 trillion has been wiped off the value of shares worldwide as China’s move fueled speculation a further slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy will undermine demand for raw materials from countries including Brazil and Russia. Poland and India were among markets that suffered the least, reaping benefits from accelerating economies and a relative lack of dependence on China for exports.

“Poland has little direct or indirect exposure to China, and the economy appears to be recovering,” Gary Greenberg, who helps oversee about $1.8 billion as head of emerging-market equities at Hermes Investment Management Ltd. in London, said by e-mail on Tuesday. “India has little exposure as well and represents another deep market, one in which many fund managers feel more comfortable, especially in light of the recent volatility.”

Hermes is overweight India and has “topped up positions” there, he said. The money manager is also “looking” in Poland, where Hermes currently has no holdings, according to Greenberg.

“The vulnerability of the rupee is not what it was,” Geoffrey Dennis, the head of global emerging-market strategy at UBS Securities, said by phone from Boston on Tuesday. “It’s a more defensive market in terms of the local currency. Poland is exposed to developed Europe and the euro zone is picking up.”

Poland’s zloty strengthened 0.7 percent against the euro at 1:09 p.m. in Warsaw, and India’s rupee was little changed versus the dollar.

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