FOR MUCH of 2016, things seemed to be going well in emerging markets. A pickup in commodity prices signalled that the global economy (and China’s, in particular) was more robust than feared as the year began. In the manufacturing sector, the average level of the purchasing managers’ index in developing countries ticked up from 49 at the start of the year (indicating contraction) to 51 (expansion) by October, according to Goldman Sachs.
Signs of stability could be identified even in the economies that most worried investors in recent years—the so-called “fragile five” of Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. All had seen their current-account deficits shrink in the past three years, making them less dependent on foreign inflows of capital.
Confidence in emerging markets had also revived among international investors. Before the American presidential election both the MSCI emerging-stockmarket index and JP Morgan’s emerging-market bond index had outperformed their developed-world equivalents this year.
But Donald Trump’s victory seems, at least temporarily, to have changed minds. On November 11th emerging-market currencies suffered their second-biggest daily sell-off in the past five years, dropping by 1.7% against the dollar. The dollar-denominated bonds of developing-country governments fell by more than 6% in the four…Continue reading