News Column

Capital Takes Flight as Easy Money Ends

July 2, 2013

Isaac Cohen -- HispanicBusiness.com

money and dice

The confirmation by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week that the days of easy money will end in the near future generated market volatility throughout the world.

However, in emerging markets, particularly in some of the so-called BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the consequence was a stampede of foreign capital.

The Wall Street Journal quotes an estimate that outflows from emerging market bond mutual funds last week amounted to $6 billion, from $3 billion the previous week.

Also, the sellout triggered by the change in policy announced by the Federal Reserve may be confirming an existing trend.

A recent study released by the Washington-based Institute for International Finance, a think tank of the world's biggest commercial banks, estimates that net capital flows to emerging economies will decline both this year and next. The IIF projects that such flows will decline by $36 billion in 2013 and by $33 billion in 2014.

This may be the start of the downward slope of what the Washington Office of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean describes as "the roller coaster" of the region's access to international bond markets.

Furthermore, historically, capital outflows from Latin America are closely related to increases in interest rates in the U.S., as during the debt crisis of the 1980s, or the Mexican peso crisis of 1994.

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Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Espaņol TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.

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