Sunday 09, September 2018 by Bloomberg

Emerging-market contagion easing as investors pause

 

The emerging-market rout that started in Argentina and Turkey, then spread to India and Indonesia and other nations, will probably stay contained, according to Fitch Ratings.

While contagion from the broader selloff is apparent in financial markets, the consensus among investors is that tumult in developing nations will subside, according to Fitch’s global head of sovereign ratings. The company maintains stable outlooks for all Asian emerging markets, aside from Pakistan.

“The discussion around contagion has changed over time—people are less focused on it than in previous crisis episodes,” James McCormack, Fitch’s global head of sovereign ratings, said in an interview at a conference hosted by the company in New York. He defined contagion as an irrational sale of a nation’s assets based on developments elsewhere.

About 43 per cent of survey respondents at the conference said they would hold positions during the turmoil. About 30 per cent said it makes sense to cut exposure on worsening contagion, while 26 per cent said the selloff was overdone and presents a buying opportunity.

The economies of India and Indonesia have adequate buffers and their governments have made appropriate policy responses to be able to weather the emerging-market rout, according to Stephen Schwartz, the head of Fitch’s Asia-Pacific sovereign team.

And while Argentina’s peso selloff has dragged down other Latin American currencies, the broader economic impact has been limited so far, according to Todd Martinez, director of Latin America sovereigns.

Looking ahead, the rising US dollar poses a challenge for developing nations that have sold large amounts of dollar debt and are vulnerable to declining commodity prices.

“The dollar is the single most important variable across the emerging-market universe,” McCormack said. “That’s been the case for many, many years, and what markets are telling us now is it’s still the case.”

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