The global economy is slowing. That’s according to the latest report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF cut its global growth forecast for 2012 to 3.3% from 3.5%. It also said that global growth was likely to continue slowing in 2013.
Well, I doubt that this news is any revelation to anyone who has watched the goings on in Europe, China and the United States over the past nine months. In fact, coming out with a ratcheted down growth forecast for 2012 is like coming out today and predicting that the Miami Heat will be the 2012 NBA Champions.
Still, I think what the IMF said about the slowdown is something worth exploring. Here’s the money quote from the IMF on the current situation:
“A key issue is whether the global economy is just hitting another bout of turbulence in what was always expected to be a slow and bumpy recovery or whether the slowdown has a more lasting component.”
The IMF went on to explain that the answer to this issue will be dependent on whether policymakers in Europe and the United States are able to successfully navigate their major short-term economic challenges. Well, thanks for telling us something that’s painfully obvious.
When I read the report, I thought it was noteworthy that the IMF pegged the United States for 2.2% growth. That’s actually expected to be among the fastest-growing developed markets in 2012. By comparison, the euro zone is forecast to contract by 0.4%. According to the IMF, emerging markets are projected to grow by 5.3%. It is here where I think investors are presented with the best way to cope with slower global growth.
If we look at the chart below of the Vanguard Emerging Markets VIPERS (VWO), we see that despite a volatile year, the trend since June is decidedly bullish. This fund now trades above its short-term, 50-day moving average, and its long-term, 200-day moving average.
Given the growth prognosis for emerging markets, I suspect that this is where the smart money will continue migrating to in the months to come. As such, smart investors will want to consider putting funds such as VWO on their watch lists.
Another fund to put on the watch list is the iShares FTSE China 25 Index (FXI). This basket of big-cap China stocks also has had a volatile couple of years. But since June, the fund has made a nice push higher. FXI also just broke back above its 200-day moving average.
If conditions in the second-largest economy in the world begin to improve, and there are strong reasons to suspect that it will, then we could be looking at the beginning of a new leg higher in China and, by extension, the emerging markets of Asia.
“Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.”
The great British prime minister was not only an outstanding leader; she also was a woman of principle. You could see her commitment to values in the decisions she made, and you can see the root of that commitment embodied in the above quote. I think it’s safe to say that if we had more leaders like Mrs. Thatcher, the free world would be in much-improved shape.
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To the best within us,