emerging market investments
After traveling nearly 6,000 miles by plane, helicopter and jeep, Evan Smith, portfolio manager at U.S. Global, is walking along a dirt path in Kenema past dilapidated shops covered with rusted, corrugated metal.
He can hardly believe he has arrived at his destination. Surrounded by hundreds of miles of forest and savannah, it's tough to imagine an agricultural diamond-in-the-rough nearby called Kenema.
Kenema is in Sierra Leone, a country in the Western part of sub-Saharan Africa with 5.6 million people recovering from a decade-long civil war that ended 11 years ago. Today, the rural people, mostly farmers and fishermen, are peaceful and friendly, says Evan, who explored the opportunity for the Global Resources Fund (PSPFX).
To get here, Evan flew from San Antonio, Texas to the largest city in Sierra Leone, Freetown, making stops in New York City, Ghana and Liberia. Then he boarded a four-person helicopter to fly east 150 miles, enduring heart-pounding drops and lifts between clouds and mountains before safely arriving at a cocoa plantation development.
The heart of Africa has been beating strong in recent years due to elevated commodity prices and resilient domestic demand, despite the global economic slowdown.
Among the sub-Saharan African countries, Sierra Leone was the fastest growing country last year, according to the World Bank. Its economy experienced growth that is as rare today as Fancy Red diamonds. GDP increased a whopping 18 percent.
The IMF's Change on Capital Controls Adds Danger for Emerging Market Investors
The IMF is up to no good again.
On Monday they released a new report on international capital flows which relaxed its opposition to exchange controls.
By doing so, the IMF has now made emerging market investments more risky, especially for retail investors.
What's more, they likely imposed a major new cost on the global economy.
The irony is that the IMF is trying to solve a problem that was caused by foolish global monetary policies. Relaxing its opposition to capital controls is just more of the same.
Removing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his world-wide sympathizers, and restoring a true free global capital market would work much better.
The IMF does correctly note that capital flows have vastly increased in recent years. That's where the initial problem comes from. It's the solution that's dangerous.
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