Howestreet.com - the source for market opinions

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONAL BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT DECISION

June 5, 2018 | A Spiking Dollar = Emerging Market Chaos, Part 2: The Story In Four Charts

John is author or co-author of five books, including of The Money Bubble, The Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit From It, Clean Money: Picking Winners in the Green-Tech Boom and How to Profit from the Coming Real Estate Bust. A former Wall Street analyst and featured columnist with TheStreet.com, he currently writes for CFA Magazine.

For most of the past few years, emerging market stocks and bonds were among the favorite investments of everyone from hedge funds to pension funds to retirees.

Now, not so much.

The next two charts (courtesy of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal) show the huge recent run ending in January, to be replaced by a full-on rout.

emerging market stocks

emerging market bonds

What happened? Well, it turns out that a big part of the apparent success of economies like Argentina and Indonesia came from their ability to borrow in international markets – frequently in US dollars – and use the resulting cash to build roads, bridges, airports, and soccer stadiums — that is, things that imply visible progress. Visitors came, saw all the “modernization,” went home impressed and hit “buy.”

But then US interest rates started to rise and the dollar spiked off of its recent lows. Treasury bonds suddenly started to look attractive relative to EM securities, while all those EM dollar debts began to look onerous rather than wondrous. The hot money decided to leave, putting downward pressure on EM currencies (which makes dollar-denominated debt even harder to pay off) and forcing EM central banks to tighten monetary policy and raise rates.

emerging market currencies

emerging market interest rates

The result? Contraction where once there was limitless growth, and instability where there was rock-solid continuity. Emerging markets have been here before, of course, and history teaches that it will get worse before it gets better.

History also teaches that trouble on the periphery frequently moves towards the center to threaten developed world institutions that were buyers of all that EM dollar debt. Hedge funds, pension funds, bond funds, global stock funds, and major-bank prop trading desks, are all on the hook for Brazilian, Argentine, and Mexican paper, which means – history again – that US taxpayers are actually the ones on the hook.

So watch for apocalyptic headlines as the 1% softens the rest of us up for yet another transfer of wealth from middle to top.

STAY INFORMED! Receive our Weekly Recap of thought provoking articles, podcasts, and radio delivered to your inbox for FREE! Sign up here for the HoweStreet.com Weekly Recap.

June 5th, 2018

Posted In: Dollar Collapse.com

Post a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All Comments are moderated before appearing on the site

*
*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.