Is now a good time for retail investors to buy emerging market stocks and bonds?

At the height of a pandemic, as growth stutters across the developing world and governments struggle to replicate the success of vaccine rollouts in advanced economies, it may seem odd even to pose such a question. Yet, it seems to be one that many investors are not only asking, but answering with a “yes”.

The number and value of emerging market-focused exchange traded funds (ETFs) and similar products — tradeable funds that typically appeal to retail investors — have risen remarkably during the coronavirus crisis.

There were 1,670 such products worldwide at the end of March, according to industry watcher ETFGI, up from 1,447 at the start of last year, while their market capitalisation rose by more than a quarter to $742bn (£528bn) over the same period.

What’s more, retail investors seem attuned to strengths and weaknesses among the…

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