What you should be reading to follow Frontier Markets
We often get the question, what magazines or newspapers we read to follow markets. In the age of the internet it is not difficult to find information, but finding a specific source that is consistently useful is a challenge.
We are heavy users of Bloomberg terminals as well as the website, and the various magazines associated with the brand. A Bloomberg terminal may be a luxury for some, but for many it is critical to their roles in finance. We would find it very difficult to track markets and companies we care about without Bloomberg. Any trader or investor in most asset classes in the world will have access to a Bloomberg terminal; this implies that those who change markets are all on the platform which in of itself makes it useful. It is also a huge timesaver in terms of data gathering or analysis. Expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 – $30,000 per year depending on where in the earth you are located for Bloomberg’s services. If do subscribe, you will probably get their magazines for free, bonus?
Curation is the key, but if you follow a few dozen sources that you trust on Twitter, there is little that could be better in terms of learning, interacting, and honing in on topics of interest. We are always sure to post our Investment Frontier posts to Twitter and from time to time we also retweet relevant articles on Frontier Markets. There are others that are much more active than us, and we enjoy following Frontier Markets and finance experts around the world. There is always something new to learn or another perspective. Best part, it is free.
If there is a single source that provides us with consistently useful and reliable information, it is the FT. Yes, the FT tends to provide a cursory glance rather than a detailed or informed overview, but it is timely and vast in its scope. If you don’t have a subscription we would strongly recommend you get one if you are interested in Frontier Markets or financial markets in general. If you are a student, you may be able to get FT for as little as $100 per year. However, most folks will be spending between $250 and $450 per year for FT’s content.
Reuters finance news is one of the most expansive in the world. Far more than the Financial Times and possibly even more than Bloomberg. However, the level of detail is somewhat limited. It is useful in identifying topics that may be relevant to your area of focus, and then using Google, you can usually find a local newspaper or trade publication that has more detail on a specific topic. Within Reuters, we would include websites owned by Reuters such as Zawya. Eikon was the supreme platform for currency. It was never better than Bloomberg for other asset classes and it could be argued that even in currency it no longer is the best trading platform. Nevertheless, they maintain a large presence, and so you know that most currency traders globally are on this platform. Eikon can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 per year depending on the services you select.
- Regional Newspapers
This is a multi-part answer, but its regional newspapers. Each region has a few sources that are must-reads if you are interested in the region. We have laid these out below, by major geographic region. Developed Europe, North America, Australia and Japan have been left out for being developed areas. South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia have been left out as well. While many countries within these regions have excellent resources for each individual economy, we have yet to find a resource that is useful for those regions as a whole.
The ‘FT’ of India is The Economic Times. If you follow ET, you will know what is happening in India and you will gain a keen sense of how business is done in India. Articles are thorough, neutral, and detailed. The vast majority of content can be read online.
We have yet to find a single source for South Asia that provides comprehensive information on the region. There are several useful newspapers in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh which provide excellent information on each individual market, but we do not have a source that is useful for the entire market.
Latin America is the most difficult to access and understand market in the world for us. If you do not speak Spanish, this part of the world is very difficult to invest in. Many stock exchange websites are only in Spanish. Not having English on your exchange website is unheard of in the rest of the world. For this reason, gaining access to resources that help explain Latin America are able to charge a little more than they would elsewhere. The best website for English-speakers is BNAmericas. Expect to pay anywhere from $500 – $1,000 per year for access to their services. A decent free option, is the news aggregator, Latin America Post, we quite like it, and it has a wide array of information on Latin America.
In the same was as ET is the definitive source for business news in India, South China Morning Post is the source for business news in China/Hong Kong. An SCMP subscription costs about $150 – $200 per year depending on the promotion you get and is well worth it if your business or anything you do is dependent on the Chinese economy. Unfortunately, no one has figured out a Netflix approach to newspapers.
Various sources we have provided in this list provide quite comprehensive information on Middle Eastern issues, but one specific to the area that is quite useful is Arabian Business. It is a news aggregator, but quite a good one with a good UI.
It is difficult to imagine gaining a sense of what is happening in East Africa without Business Daily. It is run out of Kenya, but provides a good level of details on all of East Africa. The only times when it becomes a little less useful is on topics concerning Ethiopia. They tend to exhibit a bias towards Ethiopia that one should be aware of when frequenting their site. Website access for the most part is free.
Al Jazeera is not known for their business news, but if you want to be aware of what is occurring within Frontier Markets, this is one of the best resources both in terms of its written articles as well as its video content. They have the largest footprint in the world outside of the BBC, but with better funding and a wider mandate. They have countless interviews with business executives and government officials in the markets we cover. All of Al Jazeera’s content is free.
The Wall Street Journal as a whole, is somewhat redundant and inferior to the Financial Times in a global context. It certainly has more in depth and detailed analysis for US issues, but it is a much poorer global periodical. This was not always the case, but certainly has been the case under the ownership of News Corp. The one exception to this, is the ‘Frontiers’ page managed by Dan Keeler. We think it is fantastic and we are always sure to check out his weekly roundup of affairs. If you are not on his e-mail list, we would strongly recommend getting yourself onto that list. A subscription to Wall Street Journal will vary in cost depending on where you live, it’ll cost as little as $100 a year, but most will pay around $300 per year. We do not subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, but do read it from time to time.
Similar to Al Jazeera, BBC has a wide footprint across the world which allows for insightful commentary, analysis and content. BBC’s articles themselves are quite good, particularly their features and analysis section. Where BBC really adds value is its video content. All content is free, if you have trouble accessing it, you can always use a UK VPN.
Some may expect the Economist to rank higher on our list, but we find the Economist more useful in identifying potential stories rather than as a source to answer questions. The Economist suffers from significant bias in terms of how it covers stories and which stories it covers; this in our view is to its detriment. Being a weekly periodical, it is more current than monthly magazines, but it also leads to less judicious editing or thought on placement of articles and contents within the online website or the print magazine. You can subscribe to the Economist for anywhere from $50 to $150 per year.