No collective "emerging market crash"

For the emerging markets, 2014 has got off to a pretty dramatic start. Numerous emerging market currencies are under hefty selling pressure. Concern about a marked slowdown in the Chinese economy and the steep slide in the Argentine peso against the US dollar were the triggers behind the current flight from emerging market currencies. In fact the problems currently dogging Argentina are anything but surprising. They are the almost inevitable upshot of years of economic policy mismanagement that, among other things, has spawned high inflation, a badly overvalued currency and a massive erosion of currency reserves.

In our view the current ructions are not portents of a sustained slowdown in growth in the emerging markets as a whole. Differentiation is needed, and that is what the financial markets are currently doing. The scale of the depreciation varies widely from country to country. The currencies of the Eastern European emerging markets are relatively stable. For some time now the Polish zloty, for instance, has been broadly stable against the euro thanks to the country’s robust economic constitution. Since the beginning of 2014 it has slipped 2.3%. The Hungarian forint, which in the past has always reacted sharply to changes in capital market sentiment given its macroeconomic problems, has lost close to 5% against the single currency. On the one hand, the overall fairly moderate exchange rate reactions are linked to the stabilization of the economy and the reduction of imbalances in the eurozone. That improves the growth outlook for the Eastern European countries. On the other, most Central and Eastern European countries have made progress taming their own imbalances.

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Dr. Michael Heise

Allianz SE
Phone +49.89.3800-16143

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