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Eastern Restraint, Latin Assets

Oct 1, 2002

Unlike their European and American counterparts, Asian investors entered Latin America slowly and carefully, a strategy that is giving them staying power in these tough times.

If the Samurai market were an indication of Asian sentiment towards Latin America you would think the Asians were abandoning Latin America in droves. Until September; Issuance of yen-denominated bonds by Latin American companies and countries had dropped to zero this year from $3.83 billion in 2001 (see story So Long to Latin American Samurais). But while portfolio investors in Asia have indeed cooled on Latin bonds, Asian companies that put money directly into Latin America are sticking it out and see even more opportunities there, particularly in Mexico and Brazil.

Asian investors that came to Mexico to cash in on the North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, are still there, convinced that North America is going to converge into one gigantic economic zone. Although there are some casualties as manufacturing companies shift production capacity to lower cost countries in Asia, free trade agreements between Japan and...

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“The crisis has been a setback for reserve diversification."

Jan Dehn, Ashmore Investment Management