Increasing Food Inflation, Rolling Power shutdowns Marks Start of Next Emerging Market Meltdown

Countries with poorest balance sheets and higher debt loads appear to be slipping first into turmoil

A combination of shocks is rippling through emerging market financial systems and has sparked soaring as well as energy inflation, power blackouts, and social unrest.

Nations with the weakest balance linens and high debt loads appear to be sliding first straight into turmoil. This could be the beginning innings of an  growing market crisis   last seen in the 1990s when socio-economic distress toppled governments, according to  Bloomberg .  

Already, skyrocketing as well as energy prices have caused turmoil in Sri Lanka,   Peru , Egypt, and Tunisia. The mayhem could broaden as some emerging market countries, heavily over loaded with debt, could be surprised by higher debt-servicing expenses as the Federal Reserve embarks on an aggressive tightening strategy. This couldn’t have come at the worst time for these developing nations, as many had big capital outflows and lent vast amounts of money during COVID. Now they’re being strike by food and energy surprise due to the Ukraine conflict.  

An example of this toxic cocktail that could effortlessly topple a country is  Sri Lanka has already been pressed   to the brink of default. The Southern Asian island nation’s foreign exchange reserves have collapsed, plus food and fuel shortages, plus high inflation, have sparked unrest.  

Bloomberg Economics shows a handful of other emerging financial systems at risk of crisis because of higher debt and soaring yields. Notably, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Tunisia, Pakistan, and Ghana rank are the most at-risk because surging bond yields create higher default danger.  

The Washington-based lender, International Financial Fund, raised concerns inside a recent report titled “ Emerging-Market Banks’ Government Financial debt Holdings Pose Financial Stability Risks, ” which warned  government defaults like so what happened to Russia in 1998 and Argentina in 2001-02 could be imminent across growing market economies.  

The report cautioned of a possible return of the “ doom loop”:  

A sharp tightening of global monetary conditions— resulting in higher interest rates and weaker currencies around the back of monetary policy normalization in advanced financial systems and intensifying geopolitical tensions caused by the war in Ukraine— could undermine investor confidence in the ability of emerging-market governments to repay financial obligations. A domestic shock, for example an unexpected economic slowdown, might have the same effect.

Bloomberg provides a set of gauges that shows rising market risks are rising.  

Bloomberg Economics created a list of the  countries most exposed to the fallout   from the Ukraine conflict. Chicken, Egypt, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Poland are rated some of the highest at-risk.  

Ziad Daoud, Bloomberg Economics’ chief EM economist, said if an emerging market crisis would be to develop, it might spread nicely beyond its origin.  

“ In a cascade of emerging-market credit events, the detrimental impact of the whole could be larger than the sum of the parts, ” Daoud said.  

The former Goldman Sachs economist whom coined the term BRICs, John O’Neill, said the current economic system is the most uncertain since the earlier 1980s.  

“ If we get the inflation risk persisting and central banks have to tighten policy, for certain emerging marketplaces it will be a disaster, ” O’Neill warned.

So far, turmoil is producing in places where traders don’t pay too much attention. However , the crisis can broaden as the Fed hikes and pandemic debts turn out to be unpayable as soaring inflation triggers social unrest. If the dominos fall, then traders will care.  

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