Shifting towards rate hikes

Falling virus cases, strong economic recoveries and/or inflation worries prompted several more EM central banks – those of Czechia, Chile, Hungary and Mexico – to tighten monetary policy in the past month, joining Russia and Brazil. And a few others, including Korea and Colombia, are likely to follow suit relatively soon. But it’s not a widespread tightening cycle. Low inflation means that many central banks in Asia in particular are still a long way from hiking. And perhaps most notably, the People’s Bank of China, having removed stimulus since late last year, has signalled with a cut to the reserve requirement ratio that it is now focused on lowering financing costs for indebted firms.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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Emerging Markets Economics Update

Lat Am leads the EM tightening cycle

Several EM central banks have raised interest rates in the past couple of months on the back of growing inflation concerns (including many in Latin America) and/or strong economic recoveries (parts of Central Europe, Korea). Hiking cycles look set to continue for a while longer, with Latin America likely to tighten most aggressively. Bucking the trend is much of Asia, where – with the exception of Korea – policy tightening still looks some way off.

23 September 2021

Emerging Markets Economics Chart Book

Debt risks come back to the fore

Problems at Evergrande in China have dominated the headlines recently, but (sovereign) debt risks are brewing in other EMs too. Concerns about higher government spending and rising public debt levels are building in parts of Latin America. Meanwhile, sovereign dollar bond spreads have surged in a handful of frontier markets including Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ethiopia. These economies all face the worrying combination of large external foreign-currency debt burdens, low FX reserves and weakening currencies. We are most worried about Sri Lanka. While the country will probably muddle through this year, it will face a crunch point in early 2022 when large bond repayments are due. A default is now looking the most likely option.

21 September 2021

Emerging Markets Economics Update

Emerging Markets Capital Flows Monitor

Net capital outflows from emerging markets appear to have eased over the past month, helped by a pickup in portfolio flows into South East Asia and India. Looking ahead, even if rising US Treasury yields were to trigger renewed outflows in the coming months, vulnerabilities in most major EMs look limited.

15 September 2021

More from William Jackson

Emerging Europe Economics Weekly

Hungary’s inflation surprise, Russia & OPEC+

The surprisingly large rise in Hungarian inflation in June to its highest rate in almost nine years suggests that the risks to our interest rate forecast are skewed to the upside. Elsewhere, the discord at the OPEC+ meeting this week has raised the risk that the current deal falls apart. For Russia, a surge in oil production would provide a mechanical boost to GDP growth, but the accompanying slump in oil prices would probably result in less supportive fiscal policy and a sharp drop in the ruble may trigger even more monetary tightening than we currently anticipate.

9 July 2021

Latin America Data Response

Brazil & Chile Consumer Prices (Jun.)

The further rise in Brazilian inflation, to 8.3% y/y, means Copom will continue to hike when it meets next month. But the data are not quite enough to prompt a shift from 75bp hikes to a larger 100bp move. Meanwhile, with Chilean core inflation continuing to run above target and optimism about the economy growing, we now think the central bank will start its tightening cycle when it meets next week.

8 July 2021

Emerging Europe Data Response

Russia Consumer Prices (Jun.)

The further rise in Russian inflation to a stronger-than-expected 6.5% y/y in June means the central bank (CBR) is likely to up the pace of tightening when it meets in a couple of weeks. A 75bp hike (to 6.25%) seems most likely, but the probability of an even larger 100bp hike has risen.

7 July 2021
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