Do investors need to start worrying about Russia?

Good piece by Bloomberg today on the emerging troubles for Russia. Here is the Financial Post’s play of the story.

Like troubled Brazil, Russia is another trouble spot among the four BRIC nations. (Brazil, Russia, India, China). While most investors probably have minimal exposure to BRIC economies (either through BRIC ETFs or mutual funds, or in more diluted fashion, Emerging Markets funds), this is an example of a geo-political emerging event that bears carefully watching.

Sometimes these seemingly limited local eruptions have a way of spreading globally and ultimately impacting markets far beyond. For an example, check out this Wikipedia entry on the 1997 Asian crisis, which began in Thailand. I dare say when investors first heard about trouble with the collapsing Thai baht, they had no idea the trouble would soon spread to the rest of Asia, with possible global repercussions. To contain it, the IMF had to step in with US$40 billion.

So investors should monitor the events in Russia closely. This is a good example of why we need to pay attention to geopolitics and macroeconomics. Right now, ISIS, oil, Turkey and the Middle East is at centre stage of investor concerns but the events in Russia, including the Ukraine, call for scrutiny and caution. Here’s Business Insider’s take on Russsia’s encroachments on the Ukraine.

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