A couple of weeks ago investors seemed ready to accept that the brief emerging markets selloff was just a minor Turkey-induced tantrum, but would not blossom into something worse. Well, that view seems to be waning, as the selloff in EMs has spread and is starting to have all the hallmarks of a full crisis. One analyst summarized the situation this way, explaining that this has all the hallmarks of an EM crisis: “a large dose of debt and an associated domestic credit bubble, including misallocation of capital into uneconomic trophy projects or financial speculation. Then add: a weak banking sector, budget deficits, current-account gaps, substantial short-term foreign-currency debt and inadequate forex reserves”.
FINSUM:EMs are facing a lot of headwinds, but the economies in most of them seem healthy, so hopefully the problems will be contained to just the most troubled (e.g. Turkey and Argentina).
Pimco, long-time leader in fixed income, has just gone on the record saying there may be some good opportunities in emerging markets. The company’s CIO sees the major turmoil in EMs, but says they offer opportunity. With all the selloffs, Pimco says “There are clearly a lot of challenges in emerging markets. But we see a little bit of value. It’s beginning to look interesting … We don’t see the same complacency in emerging markets as we do in other markets … We are more buyers than sellers”. For instance, Pimco is a major holder of Argentinian debt, and favors the country over Turkey.
FINSUM: With all the currency weakness and selloffs, there are certainly some good opportunities. However, this is an area where we may favor active management, as it takes a lot of work and insight to understand the internal dynamics of EM opportunities.
(Rio de Janeiro)
The outlook for emerging markets appears to be dimming. While Turkey’s troubles are well-know, widespread weakness in EM currencies is rattling the markets. EM equities are flirting with a bear market and metals prices have dropped sharply, with the latter hurting EM economies in particular. The worries over EM stocks are now seeping into Eurozone banks, where fears for lending losses are rising. One research analyst sums it up this way, saying “The combination of stronger currencies, lower commodity prices, and potentially weaker bank credit creation is a disinflationary headwind for developed markets in the near term”.
FINSUM: There are many factors which seem to be dragging emerging market economies downward, and that may be a bad sign for the global economy as a whole.
Most sources, including FINSUM, have been concluding that the emerging markets flare up centered on Turkey, would not develop into a correction or financial crisis for developed markets. Today that position is looking weaker, as stocks fell sharply across the world yesterday, and commodity markets got routed. Emerging market stock indices have fallen back into a bear market. While EMs fell big, global markets saw share plunges exacerbated by a dismal earnings report for one of China’s big tech companies, which then seeped into tech shares globally.
FINSUM: The narrative here is that Turkey sparked a big selloff and now fears over China will continue to drag EMs down. This could be the start of a global recession, but perhaps it will not be accompanied by huge losses in developed markets.
A lot of investors are worried that the turmoil in Turkey could spark a global financial crisis. In particular, Turkey’s weak position could spread to European banks, letting the situation balloon from there. However, the reality is that such fears are overblown, according to a credit analyst. Europe’s banks are actually in a strong position and can absorb losses from Turkey, so there does not seem to be any contagion to spread. Turkey’s problems are largely self-inflicted and unique as well, so it is hard to see all EMs succumbing to the panic.
FINSUM: From an American investor’s standpoint, the Turkey situation should not be very concerning as it does not seem to have much direct relationship to the US economy or markets. Hence our shares rising while Europe’s are falling.
Investors may be watching the markets anxiously, and with good reason. Turkey is in the middle of a full blown financial crisis, and the threat of it leaking into western markets via European banks seems tangible. Emerging market stocks are down 18% from their peak in January and there is pressure on other EMs like South Africa, China, Russia, and India. However, the worries over a full-scale emerging markets meltdown seem overdone, especially considering the economies of EMs are actually quite strong and healthy at the moment, which should keep things from falling into dire straits.
FINSUM: EMs currently have good currency reserves and many are running budget surpluses, so they are not entering this period of turmoil in weak shape.