Bonds issued by emerging markets countries have benefited from an improving balance of payments, as well as trade and current account surpluses since increased global demand for products from these nations particularly commodities, have boosted their exports and reduced debt.
Moreover, as interest rates around the world remain relatively low, many U.S. investors looking for higher yields have placed their cash in emerging markets fixed-income instruments. Emerging markets bonds have also improved their creditworthiness, with an increasing portion of these assets now classified as investment-grade. This is a far cry from years past when isolated financial meltdowns in Russia or Mexico led to crises across the entire emerging world.
One of the sector’s best performers, the $574-million T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Bond Fund (PREMX), is managed by Michael Conelius. As of March 31, the fund had a majority of its assets (65.9%) invested in securities rated below investment-grade, with another 20.5% in BBB-rated bonds.