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The option value of waiting

Weekly investor research

24 February 2020

High levels of uncertainty are not only associated with a scarcity of facts, but also with high trading costs. This makes the value of an option to wait for more and better information upon which to base investment decisions extremely high at such times, a fact worth remembering as Coronavirus fears continue to obscure the outlook in global markets. In EM specific news, inflation picked up in January, so should investors be worried that the multi-year disinflation in EM is over? China has made significant progress in combatting Coronavirus, but concerns are now shifting to other countries, whose response may not be as decisive as China’s. In Brazil, the technical factors driving a wedge between fundamentals and the value of the currency continue to be felt. The International Monetary Fund confirmed that Argentina must restructure its debt, a fact known to bondholders for some time. Lebanon’s sovereign credit rating was downgraded as the government announced that it is seeking financial advice. Malaysia’s Prime Minister resigned in a move seemingly designed to thwart current succession plans. In index-related news, the JP Morgan EMBI GD looks set to add its 74th country, Barbados. In the global backdrop, manufacturing did better in Europe than in the US and Bernie Sanders clinched Nevada, showing he can win support among minorities, women and younger voters.

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