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Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI)


The Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI) is a benchmark index that measures the performance of bonds issued by emerging market countries. EMBI, developed by J.P. Morgan, is a broad, comprehensive, market capitalization-weighted index. It presents investors with a wide range of debt instruments available from different sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities in emerging markets.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI)” would be:Eh-mur-jing Mar-kits Bond In-deks (E-M-B-I)

Key Takeaways

Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI) Main Takeaways

  1. Representation: EMBI is a benchmark index for measuring the total return performance of international government bonds issued by emerging market countries. Utilized by fund managers worldwide, EMBI provides key insights into the trends and performances of these economies.
  2. Risk and Reward: While investments in emerging markets carry a substantial level of risk due to political instability, legal and regulatory issues, and currency volatility; they also offer the potential for high returns – making the understanding of EMBI crucial in evaluating these risks vis-a-vis the potential rewards.
  3. Use Case: EMBI is often used by investors seeking to diversify their portfolios, fund managers to compare fund performances, or by economists doing financial market research. Thus, the usage of EMBI is versatile in the financial industry.


The Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI) is a significant benchmark in finance because it measures the overall performance of fixed-income securities in emerging global markets. Created by J.P. Morgan, EMBI aids investors in tracking, analyzing, and predicting the behavior of bonds within these markets. It’s a critical tool as it accounts for factors such as political and economic instability that typically characterize emerging markets. Furthermore, it incorporates data from a comprehensive range of emerging economies. Hence, its importance lies in its ability to provide a reliable, detailed, and inclusive snapshot of the health and dynamics of emerging bond markets, helping investors to make informed decisions and assess potential risks and returns.


The Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI) serves as a critical tool for investors and portfolio managers who are interested in investing in the bonds of developing economies. The primary purpose of the EMBI is to track, measure, and assess the total returns of the traded external debt markets in these developing countries. With its comprehensive and regularly updated information regarding the performance of emerging markets’ bond markets, it provides investors reliable insights to guide their investment strategy in the often volatile, but potentially high-yield, emerging economies.Moreover, the EMBI is used as a benchmark to compare the performance of individual bonds or portfolios against the wider emerging markets. Most of these economies are characterized by their significant growth potential and higher risk than developed markets, which attracts plenty of investors looking for potentially higher returns. Given these conditions, having an index like the EMBI can help investors make informed decisions about their investment allocations by offering an objective standard of the market’s overall performance. In sum, the EMBI’s role is pivotal not only for understanding the dynamics of the emerging markets bond sphere but also for prudent investment decision-making in these markets.


1. JP Morgan EMBI (Emerging Market Bond Index): JP Morgan’s EMBI is one of the well-recognized benchmarks in the world of finance that tracks the performance of U.S dollar denominated government bonds issued by a selection of emerging market countries. This index provides investors with insights about the creditworthiness of these countries and their potential for return on investments.2. iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (EMB): This is a real-world example of a financial product that uses the EMBI. This ETF provides exposure to U.S. dollar-denominated, emerging market bonds, hence helping investors to diversify their portfolios. The EMB uses the JP Morgan EMBI as its benchmark to guide its investment choices and track performances.3. Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF (VWOB): This is another real-world financial product that uses the EMBI. This ETF aims to track the performance of the Bloomberg Barclays USD Emerging Markets Government RIC Capped Index, a subset of the more expansive EMBI. VWOB uses this specific cap-weighted index to manage their portfolio and meet desired investment outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

1. What is an Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI)?

The Emerging Markets Bond Index, or EMBI, is 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 own’s currency).

2. Why is EMBI important in financial markets?

EMBI is important because it provides investors with relevant information about the performance of bonds in emerging markets. This helps them make credible comparisons and informed investment decisions.

3. Who manages the EMBI?

The EMBI is managed by JP Morgan. There are different variations of the index such as EMBI Global and EMBI Plus taking into account the range and diversity of the emerging market debt markets.

4. What kind of bonds are included in the EMBI?

The EMBI includes US dollar-denominated Brady bonds, Eurobonds, traded loans, and local market debt instruments issued by sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities.

5. How often is EMBI updated?

The EMBI is updated on a daily basis, reflecting the always-changing nature of the international bond markets.

6. Where can I look up information about EMBI?

Information about the Emerging Markets Bond Index can be found through financial services firms (like JP Morgan), financial news outlets, and investment tracking websites.

7. How can I invest in EMBI?

Individual investors generally cannot invest directly in the EMBI. However, there are many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that mirror the EMBI, S&P or another benchmark.

8. Is investing in Emerging Market Bonds risky?

Like with any investment, there are risks involved. It’s encouraged to conduct proper research or consult with a financial advisor when considering investing in these markets due to their volatility, political risk, currency risk, and other many factors.

9. What is the difference between EMBI Global and EMBI Plus?

The EMBI Global includes more instruments than the EMBI+ (EMBI Plus), which only contains Brady bonds, loans, and Eurobonds. Therefore, the EMBI Global offers a broader index of all the available debt.

10. What are Brady bonds?

Named after former U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, Brady bonds are sovereign bonds that were issued by the world’s poorest countries.

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