The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on December 17, 2011, escalated the uncertainty surrounding the regime change in Korea, which was preparing for a leadership transition in 2012. Very little is known about Kim Jong-un, the young man who is taking on the role of dynastic head. Some analysts feel that the death of Kim Jong-il sharply increases the risks and uncertainties from the secretive Pyongyang regime, which has significant consequences for security on the Korean peninsula and beyond. South Korea and Japan are most immediately threatened, but China and the U.S. are also deeply involved with vital stakes in North Korea’s future.
We believe Kim Jong-un, being untried and young, may not be entrusted with the power his father had, at least initially, and there is a chance that he will be affected by the rest of the Kim family. We think there is a potential risk that the regime may undertake some type of military activity or nuclear tests in an effort by the new leadership to demonstrate to the outside world that there has been no regime policy change, internal strife or reunification with the south.
This week I’ve joined forces with Dr. Michael Hasenstab, co-director of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group’s international bond department, to bring you our joint perspectives on emerging markets: where they have been, where they are now, and where we believe they are headed.
I invite you to read “Emerging Markets: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” at Beyond Bulls & Bears, which hosts perspectives from many of my fellow portfolio managers.
I’ll be back on this blog in the next week or so with my 2011 year in review and outlook for 2012.
I count myself fortunate that the continuous quest for good investment opportunities takes me to some of the most exotic and beautiful places the world has to offer. Macau, on the western side of the Pearl River Delta in China, is one of my favorites for many reasons. As an investor, I’m interested in following up on investment opportunities. As a global citizen, I love Macau’s culture and rich history.
On the cultural front, Macau’s history and abundant museums cover the Portuguese colonial period and important episodes in Chinese dynasties leading up to the present, but one of the biggest draws for me is the fireworks. Each September, Macau hosts the International Fireworks Display Contest, perhaps the world’s largest such display. Other events that draw big crowds are the International Music Festival in November and an International Marathon and the Grand Prix, during which Macau’s streets transform into a racetrack similar to Monaco’s. Read more…