In addition to allowing investors to target their favorite emerging nations without having to venture into equity markets, the risks of these debt instruments are further offset thanks to the fact that they are backed by the U.S. dollar. This is a welcomed relief for those who may be wary of the challenges associated with developing currencies.

In the past, investors have turned to sovereign debt-tracking funds like the iShares JPMorgan USD Emerging Market Bond ETF ( EMB) and the PowerShares Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt Portfolio ( PCY) to get their fill of dollar-denominated, emerging market debt. However, in recent months, this pool of funds has expanded and evolved.

Thanks to the launch of funds like the iShares Emerging Markets High-Yield Bond Fund ( EMHY), it is possible to take aim at dollar-backed high-yielding corporate emerging-market bonds as well.

The popularity of this particular corner of the fixed-income universe has taken off in recent months. This week The Wall Street Journal noted that emerging market dollar-denominated corporate bond issuances have jumped 40% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the previous year.

The niche has gained traction, but I do not encourage investors to dive into a fund like EMHY at this time. Given its youth, the fund will likely face hurdles on the road ahead. EMB and PCY are still the best bets for those looking to venture into the developing world in search of high-yielding debt.

A Fair Market Value Update

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
At the time of publication, Dion Money Management was long DVY and DIA.

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