January 20 - The potential growth opportunities on offer in emerging markets outweigh the concerns over political and economic instability that affected developing countries in 2013, according to the 2014 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index.
The fifth annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index surveyed more the 800 industry executives and goes on to rank the top 45 major emerging markets; it identifies the factors that makes them attractive investment locations for logistics companies, air cargo carriers, shipping lines, freight forwarders and distribution firms.
74 percent of logistics professionals view the prospects for 2014 as "good" or "very good" for emerging markets, with respondents remaining optimistic despite slowing Chinese growth and stalling economic development in Brazil and India.
Logistics professionals also remain, for the large part, optimistic despite moves by the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to cut 2013-2014 global growth forecasts for developing nations. Emerging market currencies and financial markets came under pressure in 2013 due to a possible 'ripple effect' from tighter US monetary policy, as the country plans to reign in its monetary stimulus in 2014.
The BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, India and China - again dominate the top of the Index because of their size. China, Brazil and India, however, saw a drop in their raw index scores when compared to 2013, indicating that the countries must take steps to improve their business climate and make further investments to national infrastructure.
Gulf countries Qatar, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait along with nearby Jordan scored highly in terms of market compatibility, according to the Index, which analyses whether market conditions are favourable for international trade and logistics. Saudia Arabia saw its overall position on the index soar to three - up from eighth in 2009 - resultant from heavy public spending in key infrastructure projects in a bid to make itself less oil dependent, subsequently generating millions of jobs in the market.
International investors were pessimistic about q quick return to fortune for Egypt, Libya and Tunisia - three countries affected by the Arab Spring uprisings. 63 percent of respondents said the economic attractiveness of Arab Spring countries is "in question for the foreseeable future" or "significantly weakened in the long term".
On a global scale, logistics professionals were far more optimistic than in 2013, according to the survey. 72 percent expect "modest growth" in global economic output and trade volumes in the next twelve months. A year ago, only 46 percent of respondents expected modest growth in 2013; an equal percentage expected output and trade to remain static.
The 2014 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index also contains a country-by-country breakdown of market performance and future prospects, regional analysis of trade conditions and international trade lane developments.