Did you know that over the last year the Greek stock market is up roughly 45 percent? The country that many believed would never recover from a six-year recession is now making astounding strides, recently being added to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index at the end of 2013.
As I’ve witnessed new strength from this “comeback country,” along with a rise in foreign investment into emerging markets as a whole, our investment team is currently strategizing to adapt our game to new European plays. Here are the game changers we see:
On Thursday, Greece returned to the international markets with a five-year bond sale, quickly topping $4 billion according to Bloomberg. The yield on these bonds is a little under 5 percent, an attractive number in comparison to other countries’ currency bonds. Greece has been shut out of the bond market for roughly four years now, but I believe the country’s reentry this week is an imminent sign of recovery.
In the Investor Alert on March 28, we highlighted another indicator of Greece’s recovery. The Greek 10-year bond yields are back down to 2010 levels and the country’s economy is expected to grow by 1.1 percent this year. These conditions have boosted consumer confidence and allowed Greek banks to recapitalize, changing the lending landscape in a credit-starved nation.
A recent Reuters’ article discussed the Greek bond sale this week stating that, “It would not only raise confidence in Greece’s ability to fund itself and aid its recovery, but it also offers Europe the chance to claim its widely-criticized crisis medicine of tough cuts and austerity was necessary, and ultimately successful.”
In fact, last October our Director of Research John Derrick expressed his confidence in the country during a time when most investors wouldn’t offer Greece a second look. He said the country’s current account situation could move from a deficit to a surplus in 2014. As it stands now, several strong economic signs are pointing to John’s positivity on the country, including the fact that Greece hit a surplus before 2014 even began, as you can see in the chart below.
One way we are playing these powerful signs within our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX) is through Greek banks such as Alpha and Piraeus. These banks recently recapitalized, and with the Greek banking industry now consolidated to only four major banks, these names are poised to benefit from the economic recovery.
Greece isn’t the only country returning to the Eurobond market. On Wednesday, Turkey sold 1 billion euros of nine-year bonds for the first time this year. The bonds, which will mature in 2023, should help the country with financing needs for the remainder of 2014.
Investors showed particular interest in Turkey’s bond issue, but have also started looking to the country as a prime tourist destination. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, recently jumped 11 spots to take this year’s No. 1 position on TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice list of global destinations, according to CNN.
Passenger growth in Turkish airports is taking off, seeing year-over-year growth of 15 percent in both international and domestic passengers. Additionally, Turkish Airlines flies to more countries around the world than any other airline! No wonder people love to visit this country. One way we capture this strength for our European fund is through a Turkish airport operator, TAV Airports.
In fact, I too will be participating in this outstanding growth when I travel to Turkey next month. U.S. Global is inviting all curious investors to take part in this exciting trip as well! I encourage you to read about the opportunities we will be exploring in Turkey straight from the experts.