Despite the economic troubles in the eurozone, central and eastern Europe (CEE) is still a place where investors can make money, said Mark Mobius, emerging markets specialist investor and president of Templeton Emerging Markets Group.
CEE countries have taken drastic steps to cut public expenditures and get their budget deficits in check in order to gain investor confidence, CNBC reports.
This apparently has worked, not only in attracting Mobius, but CNBC reports that “as safe havens grow fewer across the globe, the Ugly Ducklings (CEE countries) of two years ago have found themselves courted by investors looking for good — but also secure — returns.”
(Templeton file photo)
Making money in the region is an option that many may overlook because they may make the mistake of judging the prospects on a macro view. This will present a picture that Mobius describes as “not that exciting.”
But “on an individual basis we find some opportunity because valuations have come down quite a lot,” Mobius told CNBC.
Mobius acknowledged that countries like Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have recently had their growth outlook cut by various analysts. He believes the key is choosing sectors and stocks carefully.
Templeton Emerging Markets Group has a portfolio in the region in which resource-rich Russia weighs 36 percent, fast-growing Turkey 21 percent and Austria, which has companies with a big presence in the region, makes up 17 percent, reported CNBC.
Individuals may be hesitant of investing in CEE countries because of their undeniably close connection with the eurozone.
Marketa Sichtarova, a former adviser to the Czech Republic's finance minister, told The Wall Street Journal that the Czech koruna is likely to lose its safe harbor status amid rough waters elsewhere in central and eastern Europe if Western economies slow down.
The Wall Street Journal also says that recently she has warned about the koruna's over-appreciation, arguing that the export-dependent Czech economy will likely be hit by any slowdown in Western Europe same as its regional peers.
Developed nations are worried about the effects that the European economic crisis could have on their economies and the reality is that CEE countries will not be immune to the impact either. CEE countries are faring well now because the situation in Western Europe has not yet unraveled.
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