Moody’s: Dollar strength hurts countries in need of funds
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 23, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 23, 2015 12:00 am
International credit rating agency Moody's said on Monday that the strong dollar is pressuring countries with large external funding needs, such as Turkey, South Africa, Malaysia and Chile.
"Countries with sizable current account deficits, such as Turkey (Baa3 negative) and South Africa (Baa2 stable), and to a lesser extent, Colombia (Baa2 stable) and Brazil (Baa2 negative), are vulnerable to weaker external net inflows, because this would point to potential difficulty in financing deficits," the report said.
However, the agency also highlighted that lower oil prices and a drop in value of the currencies would help countries to reduce their current account deficits. "Two factors could help reduce the 2015 current account deficits more than we currently forecast. First, for some countries, lower oil prices could reduce their sizable energy import bills by more than we assume. Second, gains in price competitiveness from the currency depreciations could also contribute by boosting export volumes and dampening imports more than we currently expect," the report said.
Moody's stressed Turkey specifically as the beneficiary of those two factors, and said that "additionally, foreign exchange pressure is particularly credit-negative in countries where foreign exchange reserves are relatively low in relation to their forthcoming external debt repayments. Turkey is particularly exposed," the report added.
Pointing to the value loss of the Turkish lira against the dollar recently, the agency said that this phenomenon made Turkey fragile to capital outflow shocks. "But Turkey's central bank has in the past responded to the increased exchange rate volatility by intervening in the foreign exchange market. In February, it reduced the upper bound of the interest rate corridor by 50 basis points and the policy rate by 25 basis points in response to the lower growth outlook. In March, it decided to leave interest rates unchanged, likely weighing the risks of a further depreciation of the Lira against subdued economic growth expectations," the report stressed.