After a $1-trillion wipeout, emerging markets bank on large fiscal stimulus

Currencies and equities rounded off February with back-to-back monthly declines, while bond spreads widened by the most since August.
With the world reeling from one of the biggest risk sell-offs since the 2008 global financial crisis, more coronavirus-fueled declines in emerging markets may only be tempered by the prospect of coordinated central bank action or large fiscal stimulus.

 

More than $1.1 trillion was wiped off the value of developing-nation stocks and bonds last week as the economic impact of the coronavirus worsened. Currencies and equities rounded off February with back-to-back monthly declines, while bond spreads widened by the most since August.

 

On Monday, emerging stocks and currencies reversed some of the losses after the Bank of Japan and Italy’s government announced stimulus measures. Markets “may improve on central-bank pivots, with a coordinated G-20 fiscal pump not out of the question,” Stephen Innes, the Bangkok-based chief market strategist at Axicorp, said on Sunday. “Given the tightening of financial conditions due to the stock-market meltdown, the U.S. Federal Reserve will deliver to weaken the dollar. If none of this works, just pray.”

 

Developing assets tumbled in the five days through Friday as oil prices crashed and investors piled into havens, with US Treasury yields dropping to all-time lows. Little was spared. MSCI Inc.’s gauge of emerging equities dropped 7.3 per cent, the most since 2011. The Russian ruble, South African rand and Colombian peso all weakened more than 4 per cent against the dollar.



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