The Stunning Resilience of Emerging Markets
Contrary to many analysts’ expectations, emerging markets have not spiraled into a debt crisis. This can be partly attributed to central banks’ decision to reject populist policy proposals in favor of a modern iteration of macroeconomic orthodoxy.
CAMBRIDGE – As finance ministers and central bankers convened in Marrakesh for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings on October 9-15, they faced an extraordinary confluence of economic and geopolitical calamities: wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, a wave of defaults among low- and lower-middle-income economies, a real-estate-driven slump in China, and a surge in long-term global interest rates – all against the backdrop of a slowing and fracturing world economy.
But what surprised veteran analysts the most was the expected calamity that hasn’t happened, at least not yet: an emerging-market debt crisis. Despite the significant challenges posed by soaring interest rates and the sharp appreciation of the US dollar, none of the large emerging markets – including Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, and even Turkey – appears to be in debt distress, according to both the IMF and interest-rate spreads.
This outcome has left economists puzzled. When did these serial defaulters become bastions of economic resilience? Could this be merely the proverbial calm before the storm?