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Weekly Economic Briefings > Emerging Markets Weekly Economic Briefing > Global

  • September 2015
  • -
  • Oxford Economics
  • -
  • 14 pages

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Emerging market currencies continue to be hit by an unpleasant cocktail of concerns over China's growth prospects, sliding commodity prices and the looming onset of tighter US monetary policy, while the Chinese move to devalue the CNY (albeit modestly) in August has added to the uncertainty. Our 'vulnerability' scorecard suggests which currencies and economies could be worst affected if there were to be a further marked deterioration in the global economic and financial situation.

The scorecard continues to show that Turkey is the most 'vulnerable' of the 13 economies covered by the analysis, scoring badly in most key areas such as high inflation, reliance on non-FDI capital inflows, scale of external financing and continued rapid credit expansion. The latter could be a particularly destabilising feature if the global economy suffered a major setback; Turkey's credit to GDP ratio has soared from under 30% in 2007 to 75% in mid-2015. There is a considerable risk that many of these loans could go 'bad' if the economy slumped. In addition, Turks are holding an increasingly large share of their savings in fx deposits rather than TRY.

The next three most vulnerable countries - Russia, South Africa and Brazil - are the same as in June albeit Brazil has swapped position with South Africa, helped by a sharp slowing in credit growth and a more competitive real exchange rate. Russia and Brazil score very poorly on key economic criteria - a dismal growth and inflation performance, together with major deterioration in their 'twin' external and fiscal deficits - while South Africa is largely hampered by poor external factors (though its other fundamentals are hardly good apart from a stable credit ratio).

With the exception of Malaysia, most of the Asian economies are among the least vulnerable, aided by generally solid external and fiscal situations and low inflation. Malaysia's vulnerability is high because of its external indebtedness and sharp fall in its external surplus since 2011. Another factor exacerbating Malaysia's fragility is that it - along with Mexico, China, Turkey and Indonesia - experienced a large rise in portfolio inflows during 2012-14, exposing it to capital outflows now that investors are increasingly wary about risky assets.

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