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Season 2, Episode 11: Bargain Hunting in Frontier Markets, With Hedi Ben Mlouka of FIM Partners

Frontier markets are at greater risk of coronavirus fallout, but there are opportunities

Hedi Ben Mlouka joins the podcast to discuss his views of frontier markets in light of the coronavirus crisis.

Ben Mlouka has been investing in frontier markets for more than a decade as CIO and CEO of Dubai-based FIM Partners. He sees the asset class in general as being at greater risk of being impacted by fallout from the COVID-19 epidemic. The political risks are particularly vexxing.

Content segments timestamp:

  • Is this a good time to be investing in frontier markets? (6:03)
  • The first part of the equation: Frontier markets are less prepared for the coronavirus than developed markets (7:05)
  • The impact will be larger from a healthcare perspective while the policy response can be expected to be weaker, especially in fragile economies (9:56)
  • The crisis will expose the “downside of globalization,” precluding a “V-shaped” recovery (11:30)
  • Where are the opportunities? Oil importers like Pakistan and Egypt can benefit (15:26)
  • Speaking oil, forget about the demand shock for now. Oil prices should recover to $50 or $60 per barrel (18:57)
  • Beyond the macro picture, industries with access to capital are preferred. Avoid travel, hospitality, banks. (21:07)
  • Healthcare, education, retail, and consumer discretionary companies should recover over the long term (23:56)
  • Political risk is a major concern for many countries in frontier markets. Who’s most vulnerable? (31:09)

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Not intended as investment advice.

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