It has been said, perhaps millions of times, this year that emerging markets are trading at discounted valuations. That is true, but it is also a blanket statement. Not all emerging markets are cheap. Some that have been beaten quite badly are still pricy with India being a prime example.
Still, some marquee emerging markets are not only cheap relative to the broader emerging markets universe, but also compared to their historical averages. Three prominent markets standout in the very cheap: Brazil, China and Russia.
Starting with Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy is not quite yet a full standard deviation below the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, but its current price-to-book ratio is 1.4 compared with a 10-year average of 1.9, according to J.P. Morgan Asset Management data.
Brazil’s current dividend yield of 3.7% is decently above the 10-year average of 3.3%, which could make the new WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Growth ETF (DGRE) an alluring play because that ETF sports a 15.4% weight to Brazil. [An ETF for EM Dividend Growth]
As for China, the world’s second-largest economy is cheap on valuation. China trades about two standard deviations below the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and nearly a full standard deviation below its own average. China currently trades with a forward P/E ratio of 9.1 compared to its 10-year average of 10.9, according to J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
China’s dividend yield is 60 basis points above the 10-year average. Russia, the “R” in BRIC, is chronically cheap, but those discounts currently border on the deep side. Russia trades four standard deviations the EM average and its forward P/E of five is far cry from the 7.7 10-year average. Russia’s 0.7 price-to-book is about the 10-year average.
With China and Russia not only cheap, but the largest and fastest-growing dividend payers in the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Index, the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund’s (DEM) underlying index. Another idea is the SPDR S&P S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (EDIV) , which allocates a combined 38.5% of its weight to China, Brazil and Russia. [No Deficits, Low Valuations and Dividends in This ETF]