A closer look at the Delta variant’s threat to recoveries

The spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 poses a much bigger risk to economic recoveries in emerging markets than in developed markets. India, South Africa, and South East Asia have suffered already or are suffering. And limited vaccine coverage in much of Latin America, other parts of Asia and Africa mean that the threat of future outbreaks will persist. That adds to reasons to expect that GDP will return to its pre-crisis path more slowly than elsewhere.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
Continue reading

More from Emerging Markets

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

Latin America Economic Outlook

Not all doom and gloom

Virus outbreaks are easing in much of Latin America which should support activity in the near term. And while vaccination coverage is still weak in most of the region, suggesting there is still a clear risk of further virus waves, economies are becoming increasingly resilient on this front. We think that the pace of the regional recovery will beat most analysts’ expectations in the coming years. Further monetary tightening lies in store but, with headline inflation rates set to drop back in 2022, interest rates probably won’t rise as far as investors are currently pricing into financial markets. Meanwhile, political risks are likely to grow over the coming year, raising debt concerns and putting local financial assets under pressure.

19 July 2021

Latin America Economics Weekly

Brazil’s tax reform, Chilean primary elections

Proposed changes to Brazil’s income tax setup, which aim to cut corporate tax but only partly offset that with an end to exemptions and the introduction of a levy on dividends, add to the view that fiscal risks will resurface. Elsewhere, on Sunday there will be primary elections in Chile to decide the presidential nominees for the left-wing Apruebo Dignidad and centre-right Chile Vamos coalitions. While there is still a lot of uncertainty at this stage, one common theme is that there seems to be broad political support for keeping fiscal policy loose.

16 July 2021

Emerging Markets Economics Chart Book

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.

15 July 2021
↑ Back to top