Stop buying the brand-name countries, including the U.S., Canada and Western Europe! How about Eastern Europe? Poland is seeing sizzling growth, with GDP estimated at 4.6% in 2011, according to the National Bank of Poland.
What about the little tigers comprising Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan? South Korea grew at 6.1% in 2010 and is estimated to expand its GDP by 4.1% in 2011, according to Merrill Lynch. Singapore is predicted to grow at four percent to six percent this year.
And then there is the Latin powerhouse Brazil, which is estimated to grow at 5.5% from 2011 to 2013. The country will be spending billions on infrastructure and development in getting ready to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and summer Olympics in 2016.
The reality is that if you are looking for that extra edge for your portfolio, you need to add foreign stocks. While stocks in the U.S. are doing fine so far in 2011, you need to also watch for stocks in the emerging markets. Based on my economic analysis, one of my favorite regions for long-term growth continues to be China.
Yes, there are issues with Chinese reverse-merger stocks at this time, but these cases do not represent the enormous opportunities in China for higher returns.
And if you extrapolate going forward, you’ll understand that the real growth is in the emerging markets.
In the U.S., the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut the U.S. GDP estimate to 2.8% for 2011 from three percent, blaming the country’s housing and jobs issues.
Growth in the advanced economies is predicted at 2.4% in 2010 and 2.6% in 2011, according to the IMF. Compare this to the estimated 6.5% growth in the emerging markets in 2011 and 2012.
Outside of the U.S., I like the “BRIC” countries, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India and China. China’s GDP growth is estimated at 9.6% for this year, while India is at 8.2%. Russia is estimated to grow its GDP at 4.8% this year, with Brazil at 4.5%.
As I said, China is my top area for growth longer-term. China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, and in about 15 to 20 years, China is expected by pundits to become the world’s largest economy. Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts that China will become the largest economy by 2040.
One region of concern, in my view, will be the European Union (EU), where, as you know, there is muted growth and rising debt and deficit levels in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Belgium. If not for capital from Germany and France, it would be far worse there. Stick with some of the Eastern European countries, such as Poland.
My investment advice is to look outside our borders for added growth opportunities.