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The Short View: Emerging markets

January 04, 2008 | "The Financial Times"

We knew that the serious money was made in emerging markets last year. They easily beat developed market indices.

But data for 2007 reveals that they are also, increasingly, a venue for raising capital. According to Dealogic, the Bric countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China, as named by Goldman Sachs – accounted for 39 per cent of world initial public offering volume last year, up from 32 per cent in 2006.

Each of the four Brics raised more money through IPOs than four G7 members – Canada, France, Italy and Japan.

More intriguingly, these countries’ exchanges also provided the venues where 25.3 per cent of this money was raised – a figure that rises to 38 per cent if Hong Kong is included.

Not only did the larger emerging markets raise huge amounts of money, but their financial institutions are now sufficiently mature that they can do so largely at home.

This puts the battle between London and New York, the world’s largest financial centres, into perspective. New York overtook London once more last year, aided by 33 Chinese IPOs which raised $7bn.

This suggests London’s more grandiose claims are overblown, and that the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance legislation, which remains in force, is not an insuperable obstacle to raising capital in the US.

But this misses the point. Far more than the NYSE or the LSE, last year’s success story was Brazil’s Bovespa, which had its own successful IPO. Brazilian companies raised $32bn in 66 deals – twice as much as UK companies raised. All of them raised that money in Brazil.

The laws of supply and demand still apply. At these prices, countries such as Brazil and China will continue to print new equity, until the flood of supply drives the price down. But even with setbacks ahead, the financial world’s centre of gravity is shifting.

By John Authers, Investment Editor

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