Emerging markets net capital flow turns negative: IIF

Published October 2, 2015
Foreign investment flows are expected to total $548bn in 2015 compared to $1,074bn last year, the IIF says in a report.—Reuters
Foreign investment flows are expected to total $548bn in 2015 compared to $1,074bn last year, the IIF says in a report.—Reuters

LONDON: Net capital flows to emerging markets will be negative this year for the first time since 1988, with foreign investment halving from last year and heavy outflows from residents, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said on Thursday.

Foreign investment flows are expected to total $548 billion in 2015 compared to $1,074bn last year, the IIF said in a report. That is equivalent to just 2 per cent of developing countries’ gross domestic product, down from a high of almost 8pc in 2007, the global finance industry body said.

“(The) decline has been driven by a sustained slowdown in EM growth, and in particular by uncertainty about China’s economy amid continuing concerns about the impact of the Fed’s eventual turn to raise US interest rates,” the IIF said.

“(The) slowdown represents a marked intensification of trends that have been underway since 2012, making the current episode feel more like a lengthening drought rather than a crisis event.”

Emerging markets are suffering heavy falls in stock, currency and bond markets. Investors have been fleeing equity and bond funds in droves while bricks-and-mortar foreign direct investment, or FDI, is shrinking as these economies slow.

Outflows from emerging stock and bond funds is approaching $100bn, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said recently. But IIF data is broader in its scope, taking into account foreign direct investment, bank lending as well as portfolio flows.

The report is based on data from 30 emerging economies.

The IIF said that while flows into emerging markets were on the decline, outward-bound flows from citizens had accelerated and would hit $1.089 trillion this year.

This ramps up the downward pressure on foreign currency reserves, exchange rates and asset prices across emerging markets, it added.

As a result net capital flows would amount to minus $540bn this year, easing only moderately to $306bn next year, the IIF calculated.

Published in Dawn October 2nd, 2015

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