Contagion Spreads in Emerging Markets as Crises Grow
Jan 24, 2014 6:34 AM ET
The Turkish lira plunged to a record, while Ukraine’s hryvnia sank to a four-year low and South Africa’s rand fell to the weakest level since October 2008, after tumbling yesterday beyond 11 per dollar for the first time since 2008. Argentine policy makers devalued the peso by reducing support in the foreign-exchange market, allowing it to drop the most in 12 years to an unprecedented low.
Investors are losing confidence in some of the biggest developing nations, extending the currency-market rout triggered last year when the Fed first signaled it would scale back stimulus. While Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa were the engines of global growth following the financial crisis in 2008, emerging markets now pose a threat to world financial stability.
“The current environment is potentially very toxic for emerging markets,” Eamon Aghdasi, a strategist at Societe Generale SA in New York, said in a phone interview yesterday. “You have two very troubling things: uncertainty about the Fed policy, combined with concerns about growth, particularly in China. It’s difficult to justify that it’s time to go out and buy emerging markets at the moment.”