Region falls out of favour

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 June, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 1996, 12:00am

United States and British institutions view many Asian markets as overheated and expensive and prefer Latin America, according to a survey of investor sentiment.

Carried out by the Emerging Markets Monitor, the survey shows fund managers find Asian economies as adversely affected by US interest rates, and having problems with high inflation.

Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines were seen as the least favourable markets in the region.

Malaysia was viewed negatively despite an average growth rate of nearly 9 per cent for the past eight years, as investors saw the country's investment in its infrastructure as likely to fuel inflation.

Thailand was seen as lacking dynamism and investors questioned the stability of capital flow into the country.

Investors were also negative about the Philippines and Singapore because of the slow pace of economic reforms and inflationary conditions.

Taiwan and South Korea were the most favoured Asian markets, although overseas investors have had problems participating in attractive stocks, which are dominated by locals.

'The markets are not comfortable with overseas interest,' the report said.

Respondents were positive towards Indonesia on fundamental grounds, but political concerns are holding some back.

Latin America was the most favoured region with investors bullish about progressive reforms and increased opportunities to invest.

Elsewhere in the world, South Africa has fallen increasingly out of favour as questions have been raised about the country's economic policies.

The survey found the flow of funds towards emerging markets was strong and had fully shaken off the effects of the Mexican peso crisis.

There was US$120 billion invested in emerging market funds to the end of last year, up from US$14 billion at the end of 1990.