Given that in 2017 the US Federal Reserve repeatedly hiked interest rates, pressure to reduce oil production sent prices higher and a new US president took office threatening to start trade wars in all directions, emerging markets largely had a good year. Growth was solid more or less throughout the emerging-market world, inflation was more or less under control and there was even a reduction in vulnerabilities for some of the fragile countries with large current accounts. Emerging-market equities, after the volatility of earlier years, went on a sustained rally. Their prospects for 2018 defy easy generalisation, which in some ways is all to the good. A world in which their stocks and bonds are treated as generic risk assets does no favours to the countries concerned nor, ultimately, to investors. Following the taper tantrum of 2013 and the sudden sell-off across the asset class in early 2016, the lack of a simple animating story for the group last year is a positive development. Em...

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