Emerging-market assets can’t catch a break. Even when the most vulnerable countries vow to protect their currencies, the dollar steps in to rain on their parade.
MSCI Inc.’s index of currencies dropped for a fifth time in six days, putting the gauge on course for the lowest close in more than a year. The rand extended declines after data showed the economy entered a recession in the second quarter. The lira also fell on concern the central bank, which vowed on Monday to reshape its monetary policy-stance, will disappoint at its rate meeting next week. Argentinian dollar bonds reversed earlier gains even after President Mauricio Macri’s announcement of emergency measures to stem the crisis.
The dollar extended its advance to a fourth day as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to ramp up a trade dispute with China, with an announcement of tariffs on as much as $200 billion in additional Chinese products as soon as Thursday. With U.S. rates rising too, investor worries over idiosyncratic risks in emerging markets have been deepening, including Argentina’s fiscal woes, Turkey’s twin deficits, Brazil’s contentious elections and South Africa’s land-reform bill.
The dollar is winning by default, according to Kit Juckes, a global strategist at Societe Generale SA.
“There’s not much to make me think the dollar should be going up, but there’s plenty to make me nervous about other currencies,” Juckes said. “The dollar is very strong and lacking rate support, but other currencies are worse.”
Here’s what other analysts are saying about the latest in emerging markets:
It’s Not Enough
Tsutomu Soma, general manager for fixed-income trading at SBI Securities Co. in Tokyo:
- “The measures announced by Argentina and Turkey are probably not enough to lead to a significant improvement in their fundamentals”
- “Contagion risks to other emerging markets are growing especially as the Fed tightens”
‘Set to Suffer’
Michael Every, head of Asia financial markets research at Rabobank in Hong Kong:
- “Emerging-market FX are set to suffer almost regardless of what they do, the only issue is how much"
- The dollar will remain on the front foot against emerging markets as long as the U.S. continues to raise rates and boost fiscal spending while keeping the trade war fears on the radar
Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM:
- “Emerging market currencies could be destined for further pain if the turmoil in Turkey and Argentina intensifies”
- “The combination of global trade tensions, a stabilizing U.S. dollar and prospects of higher U.S. interest rates may ensure EM currencies remain depressed in the short to medium term”
‘A Penny Short’
Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trading at Oanda Corp. in Singapore:
- Argentina’s measures are “likely a day late and a penny short”
- “These moves are a step in the right direction, but they’re unlikely to be convincing enough to remove currency speculators from the driver’s seat. I guess it’s all down the IMF’s ‘White Knight’ to the rescue. However, we are getting into the realm of unquantifiability which makes the market utterly untradable"
Masakatsu Fukaya, an emerging-market currency trader at Mizuho Bank Ltd.:
- Contagion risks from Argentina and Turkey are growing for other emerging markets and economies with weak fundamentals such as those with current-account deficits and high inflation rates
- Currencies of countries such as Indonesia, India, Brazil and South Africa have been among most vulnerable
- The Fed’s rate increases and trade frictions means the underlying pressure on emerging currencies is for a further downward move
© Copyright 2023 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.