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Emerging Markets Can't Catch a Break

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Emerging-market assets continue to struggle as the Chinese economy weakens and tensions remain elevated in Ukraine.

Chinese exports unexpectedly fell in February by 18.1%, against forecasted growth of 6.8%, signaling the Chinese economy could be slowing

Both iPath DJ-UBS Copper TR Sub-Idx ETN (JJC) and PowerShares DB Energy (DBE) fell on the news on fear that less economic activity in the world's second-largest economy will weigh on demand for emerging-market resources and hurt growth in those countries during the coming months.

Meanwhile, negative investor sentiment surrounding the Russia-Ukraine conflict has weighed on iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) and iShares JPMorgan USD Emerg Markets Bond (EMB) prices.

It looks as if violence will flare up soon in the Soviet region as reports have surfaced that pro-Russian forces opened fire at a Ukrainian military base in Crimea on Monday and as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced it would conduct flybys along its eastern front to survey what was happening in the Black Sea peninsula.

If Russia goes from a war of words to actual bloodshed, the West may be forced to intervene, and investors could further pull funds out of emerging markets.

Emerging-market assets have had trouble gaining traction for a move higher the past few months, and as long as economic and geopolitical risks continue to mount, investors will be wary of investing in developing economies. EEM Chart
EEM data by YCharts

At the time of publication, the author had no position in any of the funds mentioned.

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This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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