Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
A surge in portfolio inflows is flooding into emerging central Europe, although yield-hungry investors are picking solid policy and higher growth over countries still struggling to put the crisis behind them.
After deep contractions across the region, a two-speed recovery is underway, with countries boasting better debt fundamentals like Poland and the Czech Republic for the moment ahead of those who depend on foreign lending.
Investors are also dipping into countries like Hungary, but struggles by the new centre-right Fidesz government to get its budget deficit under control mean it is lagging for now, along with fellow International Monetary Fund benefactor Romania.
“There has… been clear differentiation between the more robust and the weaker economies of the region,” Goldman Sachs wrote in a research note on the region.
Reuters Central European Investment Summit, September 28-30, 2009
The former Communist countries of central Europe have been the last to be hit by the global economic crisis, but th e hit they took was among the hardest. Only big neighbour Russia’s deep plunge into recession is rivaling the sharp fall from record economic growth that’s in store this year for the economies between the former Soviet Union and Western Europe.
Global risk aversion and deleveraging exposed the weaknesses that the countries had been able to gloss over during the boom years – which in retrospect appeared to have been, in some countries, a colossal binge bankrolled by cheap foreign credit extended by Western European banks that had to come to an end when funding dried up.
Charles Schwab’s Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders believes the rise in oil prices is in part directly related to the improvement in the economy. Sonders says “there’s no reality if the economy is starting to improve to the ten-year staying at 2-percent and oil staying at $32 dollars.” Do you agree? Or, will the rise in prices start raising red flags? Click here to listen to Sonders’ view.