Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday said emerging market (EM) economies with limited foreign exchange buffers are more at risk to a rise in interest rates in the US.
“Emerging market sovereigns face varying degrees of exposure to rising US interest rates, with those possessing limited buffers and policy space being most at risk to adverse capital flows and investor sentiment,” it said in a report.
The big drops in emerging market exchange rates this year are partly in anticipation of a Fed action.
Other contributory factors include slowing Chinese growth and the related fall in export revenues for commodity exporters, Moody’s added.
“When a Fed move occurs, though anticipated, there remains a low risk of a disorderly reaction, should an initial move by the Fed cause investors to abruptly adjust their expectations for yields,” It said.
The US Fed is expected to raise policy interest rates, which are near zero since the 2008 crisis, on Thursday.
Moody’s said that although lower global commodity prices and possible volatility in capital flows will pose a challenge to some emerging markets, a combination of reserve buffers and policy vigilance has the capacity to limit the negative sovereign credit impact.
“The most affected large emerging markets — and those most at risk going forward — have tended to be those such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey and to some extent, South Africa, in which severe domestic challenges have contributed to exchange rate and financial market instability, and where policy room to buffer external shocks and protect growth is less robust,” it added.
It said the biggest downward currency moves among the largest emerging markets during the course of 2015 occurred in Brazil, Turkey, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, and Indonesia, with an average depreciation against the dollar of about 17 per cent since the beginning of the year.
Although currency depreciations can augur well for exports, they tend to be accompanied by turbulence in domestic financial markets, which can affect overall growth, it said.