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History Says Emerging-Market Carry Trade Could End in Tears

  • BofA warns sentiment on EM currencies nearing ‘exuberance’
  • Trade has handed investors 7.5 percent profit this year
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Why Mark Mobius Is Optimistic About Emerging Markets

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Investors reaping handsome returns on emerging-market currencies this year might do well to heed a warning once made by Harvard economist Jeffrey Frankel, who likened carry trading to “picking up pennies in front of a steam roller.”

Economic theory -- and history -- suggest the strategy of borrowing where interest rates are low to invest in high-yielding currencies is prone to the risk of a sharp reversal when too many investors pile into the trade. Strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch warned last week that sentiment on emerging-market currencies is already reaching “exuberant levels.” Saxo Bank A/S’s chief currency strategist says now is the time to take profits.