Argentina Leads Emerging Markets Downturn

Several emerging market currencies fell sharply on Thursday after Argentina’s central bank raised interest rates to 60%, representing a 15% hike and the highest level of any nation’s central bank.

This rate hike followed Wednesday’s plea by Argentine President Mauricio Macri, in which he publicly asked the IMF to accelerate the rollout of its $50 billion emergency line of credit.

At time of writing, the Argentine peso has pared some of its intraday losses and is trading around 37.5 per USD, representing a roughly 10% fall.

“When [Macri] said he was going to go to the IMF to get the funds sooner, it sounded like a voice of desperation,” explained Bloomberg Macro Strategist Vincent Cignarella in a recent interview.

Furthermore, Cignarella explained that Argentina’s main problem is runaway inflation. As he says, “it’s been a situation in Argentina for as long as I can remember, in the 35 years I’ve been doing this, Argentina’s always had an inflation problem.”

Turkish Lira Issues

The peso started its exchange rate freefall earlier this month, as a broader concern about emerging market currencies was sparked by issues stemming from the Turkish lira.

The lira, which at the time of writing is down 3% on the day to roughly 6.65 per dollar, has had a very tumultuous month, facing issues ranging from Turkey’s high internal rate of inflation to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issuing a sharp warning to the nation’s central bank to avoid hiking interest rates.