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NEWS TICKER: JULY 22nd 2016: Apple Inc is planning to open its first Apple Store in Taiwan, a move that comes after the U.S. technology giant raised $1.38 billion in a bond offering last month on the island that is home to many companies in its supply chain -- Taiwan stocks fell in the Asian session today after hitting a more than one-year high in the previous session, tracking losses in overseas markets. The main TAIEX index was down 0.4% at 9,019.87, after closing 0.5% higher in the previous session. Taiwan's export orders from China, in data issued earlier this week, showed slippage in June, hurt by weaker demand for displays, though not by as much as expected. Even so, the Taiwan dollar softened TAD0.019 to TAD32.079 per US dollar - Phillip Capital Group, an Asian financial services provider with $30bn 3 in assets under custody and management, has appointed BNP Paribas Securities Services to service its Singapore-based funds. BNP Paribas Securities Services is a global custodian with USD 9 trillion in assets under custody. Phillip Capital Management (S) Pte Ltd (PCM) has migrated its largest SGD money market fund to BNP Securities Services Singapore. This will help the company enhance operational efficiency and fulfil its regulatory requirements. For example, the company will be able to manage, track and report on its funds in a consistent and timely fashion. The long-term benefits will enable a standardised and scalable approach to custody services being extended into other locations for PCM. Phillip Capital Management (HK) Ltd is also working with BNP Paribas Securities Services to launch a fund in Hong Kong -- Following the event strewn Republican Convention this week, next week it is the turn of the Democrats. The Democratic National Convention is set to take place in Philadelphia from July 25th to 28th. The event is scheduled to be held at the Wells Fargo Center -- China's CSI 300 index and the Shanghai Composite both slipped about 0.5% in the Asian session today, with losses of around 1% for the week. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 1.1%, dragged down by the yen's 1% rally on Thursday – a trend that has been apparent all year. The index is still up 0.8% in a week in which it touched an eight-week high thanks to an initially weaker yen and expectations of fiscal and monetary stimulus, though in an interview with BBC radio this week, the Bank of Japan said that it did not believe in ‘helicopter money’ and that its current strategy was adequate to lift the economy out of its funk. The central bank’s next policy decision is expected on July 29th

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Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund,  says a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class. Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund, says a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class. Photograph kindly supplied by Barings, November 2013.

Barings makes case for frontier markets in 2014

Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Barings makes case for frontier markets in 2014 Frontier markets such as Argentina, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have delivered strong investment returns in 2013, and the asset class is set for continued strong performance in 2014, according to international investment firm Baring Asset Management. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/media/k2/items/cache/9392051d1c6437a4aa44d9c49269a7c6_XL.jpg

Frontier markets such as Argentina, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have delivered strong investment returns in 2013, and the asset class is set for continued strong performance in 2014, according to international investment firm Baring Asset Management.

The firm sees every reason for investors in such markets to be positive as they look ahead to next year. Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund, explains why: “Frontier markets are inefficient markets at an early stage of development, providing many mispriced investment opportunities, and we expect the drivers which have supported markets in 2013 – potential for long-term structural growth combined with a low correlation to other asset classes – to remain intact. 

"We are encouraged by the political developments we have seen this year, which show that the countries in our investment universe continue to move towards economic liberalisation and democracy, albeit at a slow pace.”



Levy notes the performance of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index, which has returned +16.4% in US dollar terms to mid-November, reflecting the prospect of long-term structural economic and corporate earnings growth and continued allocations from investors attracted by low correlations to other asset classes.  The performance compares very favourably with a 7.1% decline in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index over the same period.

Two asset classes where Barings sees particular investment potential are new energy opportunities and healthcare companies.  The former encompasses exceptionally large oil and gas deposits in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, which are likely to be brought to market shortly.  The latter reflects the rapid growth of generic pharmaceuticals production in many frontier economies as well as the increasing use of private healthcare provision to supplement public healthcare, particularly in the Middle East. 

Al Noor Hospitals, for instance, is one of the largest private healthcare providers in the United Arab Emirates and a core holding in the Baring Frontier Markets Fund.

In terms of country performance, Middle Eastern markets including the UAE stand out as one of the better performing regions, according to Barings, as the banking sector in the UAE has benefited as a safe haven at a time when continued instability has impacted some other countries in the region. 

In Africa, a continent where Barings sees the strongest long-term equity market potential, elections in Kenya have resulted in a more market-friendly government coming into power – evidence of the wider, long-term trend towards democratisation across the frontier market universe.  Nigeria’s Central Bank also continues to make good progress in managing the currency and inflation, and investments made in security and customer identification augur well for the development of Nigeria’s retail banking market, in Barings’ view.

Levy adds: “From an investment perspective, a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class, and we expect further progress here next year, with potential for privatisations in Romania for example in 2014.  We recently invested in a company which has operations based in Laos, and increasingly, other Asian frontier markets, and continue to monitor new investment opportunities very closely.”

Barings launched its Frontier Market Fund in April this year, investing in markets outside developed and emerging market benchmarks.  In the six months to the end of October 2013, the Baring Frontier Market Fund has delivered a return of 9.48% versus 8% for its benchmark, the MSCI Frontier Markets Index.  The portfolio is diversified across the major Frontier markets, with significant exposure to Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Kenya.  The top three sector holdings are Financials, Telecoms and Consumer Staples.

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