Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Marc Faber: "If you cannot swallow a 30% correction in whatever you buy, then don't even get up in the morning from your bed."

A 30% correction in emerging markets?

More money than you can imagine. Billions and trillions of currency notes. The Fed's quantitative easing program sent a lot of cheap money floating around the world. This money directly found its way to emerging markets. With high interest rates, and strong economic recoveries, the flow of money in this direction was but obvious.

For a while, increased cash makes everyone feel happy. FIIs pumped in a total of US$ 29.3 bn in India so far in 2010. This sent stock prices soaring. The very same stocks which were selling at their lows a year back, reached their lifetime highs. Stock markets climbed quickly to their previous peaks.

But, was the excess money even needed in the first place? Increased inflows of money have led to inflationary pressure, currency appreciation and asset bubbles forming in these countries. According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, these are "considerable risks". So, how do the emerging markets react? Well, economies from San Paulo to New Delhi have been trying hard to control these volatile capital inflows. Brazil raised its taxes on foreign bond purchases by almost three times. India tried to raise interest rates to stem rampant inflation.

But now, India has inadvertently done something to further reduce FII inflows. The recent bribery scams, stock price riggings and political uncertainty led to FIIs dropping Indian stocks like hot potatoes. The pace of FII inflows has slowed down considerably over the past three months. Marc Faber believes that emerging markets could easily see a 20-30% correction. Tightening monetary conditions, high crude prices and food supply concerns are all adding to the mess.

But, if you bought the right stocks at the right valuations and with the right management, you may still be safe. We believe that Faber has it right by saying that if you cannot swallow a 30% correction in whatever you buy, then don't even get up in the morning from your bed.


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