Emerging Markets Bond Index - EMBI

DEFINITION of 'Emerging Markets Bond Index - EMBI'

A benchmark index for measuring the total return performance of international government bonds issued by emerging market countries that are considered sovereign (issued in something other than local currency) and that meet specific liquidity and structural requirements.

The most popular indexes are the J.P. Morgan Emerging Bond Index (EMBI) and EMBI+; the latter measures both Brady bonds and other sovereign debt while the EMBI measures only Brady bonds. In order to qualify for index membership, the debt must be more than one year to maturity, have more than $500 million outstanding, and meet stringent trading guidelines to ensure that pricing inefficiencies don't affect the index.

BREAKING DOWN 'Emerging Markets Bond Index - EMBI'

The J.P. Morgan indexes are a popular benchmark for money managers that deal in emerging market debt, so investors may see the index used as a comparison for their mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. Because of their higher interest rates, emerging market bonds can significantly outperform U.S. Treasury bonds. For example, in the 10-year period ending in May of 2004, the J.P. Morgan Global Emerging Markets Bond Index had a total return of 248%, greater than both U.S. corporate bonds and the S&P 500.


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