Emerging markets: what’s the problem?
There were a lot of concerns about emerging markets during the recent days. Why there are problems in so many countries simultaneously? There are the following general reasons behind the depreciation: a contraction in Chinese manufacturing, concerns about the impact of the Fed’s stimulus tapering, a variety of more local problems, ranging from troubled economic institutions to political unrest.
Argentinean peso survived the biggest depreciation 12 years. In lost 15% of its value last week when the central bank briefly stopped supporting the national currency. Earlier the central bank spent huge sums to slow down peso’s fall. These efforts reduced Argentina’s foreign-currency reserves to about $29 billion from around $43 billion a year ago. Inflation is believed to account for 30%. There’s a big gap between the official exchange rate (around 8 peso per USD) and the black market rate (more than 12 peso per USD). This gap reinforces expectations that peso will devalue even more.
Turkish lira has lost about 16% against dollar since Dec. 17, when the arrest of the sons of 3 cabinet ministers exposed a corruption investigation which threatens Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his government’s standing. The nation’s central bank has persistently refused to raise interest rates to defend the currency. Erdogan was opposing the hike, because he wanted low rates to boost economic growth as elections approach. As a result, the central bank had to reduce its foreign currency reserves to give lira some support. Still, it’s clear that it doesn’t work and the regulator has an emergency meeting today. A rate hike’s widely expected.
Currencies likeSouth African rand, Russian ruble, Unraine hryvnia, Chilean peso continue their fall. Pimco thinks that once the risk aversion abates, people will start to differentiate again and currencies would recover. Others say the declines are sowing the seeds of problems for developing nations because weaker currencies would push up overseas debt payments for countries, damping the outlook for their economies.