The Omicron variant and the threat to EMs

There’s a lot that we don’t know about the new Omicron variant. But if it proves more virulent, the economic fallout would probably be largest in EMs in parts of Africa and South and South East Asia that have lower vaccination rates, more limited fiscal space and/or larger tourism sectors. The new variant may also temper the pace of tightening cycles in parts of the emerging world. In view of the wider interest, we are also sending this Emerging Markets Economics Update to clients of all our Emerging Markets services.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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Emerging Markets Economics Update

Emerging Markets Capital Flows Monitor

With the notable exception of Turkey, net capital outflows from emerging markets have eased over the past month. However, the global backdrop for EMs this year will be challenging, particularly for those countries where external vulnerabilities are high (Turkey) or growing (parts of CEE and Latin America). Drop-In: Turkey’s new economic policy = old problems (Thurs 20th Jan, 09:00 ET/14:00 GMT). William Jackson and Jason Tuvey discuss the economic problems associated with the lira’s collapse, including the government’s policy response. Register here.

19 January 2022

Emerging Markets Economics Update

Current account risks building in Em. Europe & Lat Am

The shift to current account surpluses in Indonesia and South Africa suggest that these economies may be better placed to weather any fallout from rising US interest rates than in the past. But current account deficits have become an increasing cause for concern in parts of Emerging Europe (Hungary, Poland and Romania) and Latin America (Colombia and Chile). Drop-In: Join Chief Emerging Markets Economist William Jackson and Jason Tuvey, head of our Turkey coverage, shortly after this Thursday’s CBRT meeting for a discussion about Jason’s new report on economic policy-making in Turkey, the impact of the lira’s collapse and brewing macro risks this Thursday 20th January at 09:00 ET/14:00 GMT. Register here.

18 January 2022

Emerging Markets Economics Chart Book

Omicron sweeps across the emerging world

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is causing new virus cases to surge in the emerging world. Many EMs are reporting record daily cases or that new infections are rising sharply. South Africa’s experience offers some hope – cases are now falling sharply there and it looks like the economic fallout was limited. Elsewhere, most EM governments are following South Africa’s playbook by imposing limited (if any) containment measures, although China is a key exception. And given weakness in testing capacity and large informal sectors in most EMs, workplace absenteeism is unlikely to be as economically disruptive as in DMs.

14 January 2022

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Emerging Europe Economics Update

Turkey: how strong is the fiscal picture?

Turkey’s public finances have become more vulnerable to falls in the currency in recent years, although we think the likelihood of sovereign default is very low. Perhaps the bigger risk for the public finances is that the pressure on the central bank to focus on growth is matched by a shift to a looser fiscal stance, causing the debt dynamics to worsen.

25 November 2021

Latin America Data Response

Brazil IPCA-15 (Nov. 2021)

The Brazilian inflation reading of 10.7% y/y in mid-November (the same as the October full month figure) provides the first sign that inflation is now stabilising. But with the headline rate still far above target and fiscal risks persisting, it looks more likely than not that Copom will raise the Selic rate in a larger 175bp step (to 9.50%) when it meets next month.

25 November 2021

Emerging Markets Economics Chart Book

EM tightening cycles have further to run

Inflation in the emerging world has generally surprised to the upside in recent months. But while inflation in most parts of Asia remains at levels which central banks are comfortable with, it has risen well above target in much of Emerging Europe and Latin America. Soaring energy (and in some countries food) prices explain a big chunk of the rise in headline rates, although the re-opening of economies and goods shortages have caused core price pressures to intensify too. This has prompted central banks to step on the brakes and raise interest rates, with policymakers in Brazil, Chile and Czechia in particular stepping up the pace of tightening over the past few weeks. Looking ahead, with inflation across both Latin America and Emerging Europe set to remain above central bank targets for a while yet, further rate hikes lie in store. The key exception is Turkey where, under pressure from President Erdogan, the central bank has signalled that it will ease policy again at its next meeting.

19 November 2021
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