New markets have stood up well to the credit crisis and most banks are still expanding local franchises. Is now the time to go emerging?
Based on rising oil prices, soaring Middle East M&A, and banks’ untrammelled enthusiasm for all things East European, the answer is probably yes.
According to Bloomberg, Persian Gulf states have spent US$68bn on overseas acquisitions this year (including Abu Dhabi’s recent purchase of a 7.5% stake in US private equity firm Carlyle Group) and with oil prices expected to remain high, the GCC M&A pipeline is unlikely to dry out any time soon.
Banks are equally keen to capitalise on the unreconstructed economies of Eastern and Central Europe. Recruiters in both the GCC and Russia say there’s still plenty of hiring – Goldman has acquired a licence to operate in Qatar; Citi has bought into equities in Turkey; and Carlyle is pushing into Poland.
There are doubters, however. Back in July, James Montier at Dresdner warned that over-valued emerging-market equities showed the degree to which investors had lost touch with reality. And if there is a widespread rout, there’s always the chance that banks will ditch their furthest-flung outposts first.
Let us know what you think – is a career shift to an emerging market a clever hedge against redundancies at home, or is it the last-ditch option of bankers whose careers are flagging elsewhere?