Embedded Betas and Better Bets: Factor Investing in Emerging Market Bonds
Vol. 17, No. 3, 2019
Johnny Kang, Kevin So and Thomas Tziortziotis
We document novel empirical insights driving the prices of sovereign external emerging market bonds. In the time series, we examine the market portfolio’s time-varying exposures to a broad set of macro factors (rates, credit, currency, and equity) and identify these embedded betas as key drivers of its excess returns. In the cross-section, we construct complementary value and momentum style factors and demonstrate their ability to explain country expected returns. Building off these insights, we introduce a simple risk-on versus risk-off framework to characterize the correlation structure spanning our macro and style factors. Lastly, we show how our style factors can be incorporated into an optimized long-only portfolio to generate outperformance relative to a value-weighted benchmark portfolio.