11 Countries Where You Can Discover Exceptionally Cheap Stocks Now

The bear is the symbol of downtrends on the stock and commodity exchanges.
  • In developed countries, you don’t find many cheap stocks now.
  • U.S. stock market indices have already risen year-to-year.
  • But many emerging market equity funds are showing heavy losses.
  • This is a consequence of the epidemic situation, commodity prices, tourism, indebtedness.
  • If you buy stocks, never put all your eggs in the same basket.

Historic stocks (Wikimedia Commons)


Some Stock Markets Are No Longer Cheap

Are there cheap stocks now, at all? After a historic market crash in March, there was a huge jump in stock indices. As of May 8, the S&P 500 U.S. stock index is already 1.7 percent higher than a year ago. And the Nasdaq Composite Index went up about 15 percent in 12 months. As if there was no coronavirus crisis. (We also wrote about this here recently: Are You Sure You Will Buy Stocks in 2020? – Chart of the Day)

The coronavirus crisis is not taking its toll equally. Some sectors are performing very well. Let’s only mention companies that provide Internet entertainment (such as Netflix), online stores (Amazon), or pharmaceutical and medical equipment. Equities in other sectors are hit badly, such as airlines, tourism, energy companies, or European banks. But there are also big differences between countries.

Almost Half of the Money Was Lost

As the chart shows, since the beginning of the year, the stock markets in some countries are still in a loss of 30 to 50 percent. So high are the price losses of ETFs specialized in the stock market of a particular country. (ETF: Exchange Traded Fund or Exchange Traded Note.) No ETF was profitable in 2020. Chinese stocks are in a better position because Chinese authorities rolled back the coronavirus early. But each case is different. In the Swiss investment fund (EWL) some companies may cause stability. In big part, it’s the high weight of the pharmaceutical companies Roche and Novartis and the food industry group Nestlé.

Chart: Performance of country ETFs since the beginning of 2020. (YTD, May 8).
Chart: Performance of country ETFs since the beginning of 2020. (YTD, May 8). (Data Sources: SeekingAlpha, Investing.com.)


Stock markets in countries dependent on the price of oil and other commodities are especially weak. The weight of tourism is also an important factor. And in some countries, foreign debt is a serious risk. Also, there are differences because of the devaluation of currencies. As we have recently shown on another chart, the currencies of some countries have depreciated sharply this year. (See here.)

Why Are the Stock Markets in These 11 Countries Cheap?

We have examined why stocks in the 11 countries with the biggest falls on the chart may have fallen so much. We searched partly for economic news and partly for data on the structure of the economies of the affected countries. 

Brazilian Flag



The largest economy in Latin-America may be hit in the first line by the virus. “With More Daily Deaths Than U.K., Brazil Is New Virus Hotspot” – wrote Bloomberg. But Brazil also seemed vulnerable to raw material prices in the past. “Deposits of nickel, tin, chromite, uranium, bauxite, beryllium, copper, lead, tungsten, zinc, gold, and other minerals are exploited” – wrote Wikipedia. Sugar, lumber, coffee, cocoa, soybeans, orange juice are also important export products. Many of them cheap now.

Colombian flag



“Petroleum is making over 45% of Colombia’s exports” – wrote Wikipedia. With crude oil prices in free-fall, that explains the high losses of Colombian assets. The second most exported commodity of the Latin-American country, coffee, was more stable in recent months.

Greek flag



In the famous Greek crisis, many feared the disintegration of the Eurozone a few years ago. Greece was rescued by European countries, but its foreign government debt remained high. (After Japan, it is the second-highest in the world.) This is especially dangerous in times of crisis. Because of the loss of revenue from which loans have to be repaid. Besides, in the country’s beautiful beaches and historic cities, the income of many citizens depends on tourism. But this industry has completely collapsed this year.

Indonesian Flag



The country is a member of the OPEC oil cartel, but no longer an oil exporter. It has other minerals like bauxite, silver, tin, copper, nickel, gold, and coal for export markets. (Wikipedia.) But tourism plays also an important role in the economy. The country’s currency, the rupiah, fell a lot this year.

Nigerian Flag



“Nigeria Stares Into the Abyss of a Life Without Oil Revenue”. “Africa’s most populous nation is getting almost nothing from its massive oil wealth” – wrote Bloomberg a couple of days ago. The country is a member of OPEC and one of the more important oil exporters in the world. Its economy is hit hard now by the oil prices. The USD/NGN (Nigerian naira) price is 18 percent up this year.

South African Flag


South Africa 

The country’s economy is more developed, industrialized, and diversified compared to others on its continent. But it had serious problems before the pandemics already. And the main exports still include raw materials. “Corn, diamonds, fruits, gold, metals and minerals, sugar, and wool”. “Travel and tourism directly contributed ZAR102 billion to South African GDP in 2012 and supports 10.3% of jobs in the country” – wrote Wikipedia. The main part of tourism may be canceled this year.

Mexican Flag



Mexico is also one of the largest oil producers in the world, although exports are lower than before. But tourism is also important. Mexico was the eighth most visited country in the world. With over 20 million tourists a year (by Wikipedia). Public debt was 51,5 percent of the GDP in 2017 – somewhere in the middle on the list of countries.

Austrian Flag and Coat of Arms



Austria loses a lot this year because of the collapse of tourism. There were already problems with the winter ski season. And for summer vacations, who knows how many people will dare to travel. Besides, the main titles on the stock exchange in Vienna are banks and the OMV energy holding. These underperforming sectors weight on the Austrian stock market.

Norvegian Flag



Norway is one of the largest oil exporters. The country is “highly vulnerable to fluctuations in the demand and pricing for natural resources”.

Spanish Flag



One of the most affected countries in Europe by the new coronavirus pandemics is Spain. (With 26,299 deaths so far.) The country is also very vulnerable because of its dependence on tourism and high debt levels.

Italian Flag



Another of the most affected countries in Europe by the new coronavirus pandemics is Italy. (With 30,201 deaths so far.) The country is also very vulnerable to tourism and high debt levels. It was called “the sick man of Europe” – a long-long time before the actual pandemics already.

Let’s Buy Cheap Emerging Market Stocks Now?

We don’t know if it’s worth buying this seemingly cheap stocks now. Do not take this article as an invitation or offer to buy shares. Nobody knows if we have seen the lows in this crisis. There may come more bad economic news or the epidemic situation may get worse. Experts always say we need to diversify our investments.

You should do your researches. And diversify your portfolio – don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. If you venture into emerging markets, invest in various countries with different risks. But also diversify over time. That means, split your capital into smaller packages and spend it gradually. (Read more about this here: How to Buy Cheap Stocks in the Coronavirus-crash?)

Technical Remarks

These ETFs are dollar-denominated securities of various U. S. asset managers. (Global X Funds, iShares, SPDR S&P, VanEck Vectors.) Traded in the New York Stock Exchange. The performance of these ETFs may differ from a country’s benchmark stock index for many reasons. The composition of the ETF may differ from the index. Changes in foreign exchange rates, costs, significant volatility, and changes in investors’ capital, inflows, outflows can affect. This is a selection. In larger or more important countries there are various local ETFs. With Brazil, for example, we found eight. (See the ticker codes of the ETFs in this article below.)

Ticker Codes of the Country ETFs

BrazilEWZUnited KingdomEWUVietnamVNM
GreeceGREKAustraliaEWASouth KoreaEWY
IndonesiaIDXThailandTHDUnited StatesEUSA
South AfricaEZAArgentinaARGTNetherlandsEWN
AustriaEWOBelgiumEWKNew ZealandENZL
NorwayNORWSingaporeEWSHong KongEWH
PhilippinesEPHESaudi ArabiaKSASwitzerlandEWL
United Arab EmiratesUAECanadaEWCDenmarkEDEN



I’m not a certified financial advisor nor a certified financial analyst, accountant nor lawyer. The contents on my site and in my posts are for informational and entertainment purposes and reflecting my collection of data, ideas, opinions. Please, make your proper research or consult your advisors before making any investment or financial or legal decisions.

(Cover image: Pixabay.com. The bear is the symbol of downtrends on the stock and commodity exchanges.)

(Photos: Pixabay.com.)

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