Monday, February 3, 2014

Emerging Markets Have Reserves (excerpt)

Despite interest rate hikes announced last week by the central banks of India, South Africa, and Turkey, the currencies of these countries remained weak. The Russian ruble tumbled. Argentina’s currency continued to plunge. These currencies have been weak since last spring, when Fed officials started to talk about tapering QE.

So the crisis didn’t just start in January. However, it may be premature to say that it is almost over. Nevertheless, it may soon be over as far as the stock markets in the US, Europe, and Japan are concerned. That’s because Debbie and I don’t expect a contagion. The trouble spots are troubled by their own unique circumstances and will have to work them out on their own.

The global economy has been weathering several storms in recent years. The first storm, during 2008, was US-centric and depressed the global economy. The second storm, from 2010-2012, was centered in the Eurozone and dampened global economic growth. Now, the third storm is hitting a number of emerging economies, but shouldn’t slow the global economy much given that growth is picking up in the US, Europe, and Japan.

Helping some of the emerging markets weather their storms should be the record amount of non-gold international reserves that they hold. IMF data show that collectively they held a record $7.8 trillion during November. China’s reserves account for about half of that sum. However, some of the more troubled emerging economies also held sizeable record or near-record reserves at the end of last year: Russia ($470bn), Brazil ($356bn), India ($275bn), Turkey ($129bn), South Africa ($45bn), and Argentina ($28bn).

Today's Morning Briefing: Take the Money & Run? (1) January Barometer hits and misses. (2) Positive annual exceptions to negative Januarys. (3) Melt-up/meltdown less likely? (4) An inauspicious beginning. (5) Assessing the bear case. (6) Are the bears teeing us up for yet another relief rally? (7) The moon can influence China’s M-PMI. (8) Power to the Chinese people. (9) Oil exports pumping up US GDP. (10) Fed giving more weight to inflation data, and so are we. (11) “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (- - -). (More for subscribers.)

No comments: