Moody's targets India again, says 'most vulnerable to capital outflows'

Sep 23 2013, 20:42 IST
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Moody's said the impact of US Fed on bond yields exposed structural flaws in India. Reuters Moody's said the impact of US Fed on bond yields exposed structural flaws in India. Reuters
SummaryMoody's highlights threats for India stemming from US monetary tightening.

India is among the countries that are most vulnerable to capital outflows as it relies heavily on external funding, global credit rating agency Moody's cautioned today.

"India and Indonesia are the most vulnerable to capital outflows because of high reliance on external funding," Moody's Analytics said in its report - 'How US Monetary Tightening Affects Asian Markets'.

Moody's said the impact of recent US Fed announcements on bond yields have exposed structural flaws in Asian economies, particularly in India and Indonesia.

Moody's said the US Fed's talk earlier of a likely tapering of monetary stimulus depreciated the rupee by 15 per cent, making it the worst performing currency in Asia.

The US Federal Reserve last week surprised the markets by saying it will continue with its monthly USD 85 billion bond buying programme and wait for more evidence of growth recovery before thinking of unwinding the stimulus.

Expectations that the stimulus programme would be tapered had led to fears of capital outflows, causing the rupee to depreciate against the dollar and stocks to fall.

The rupee touched a low of 68.86 to the US dollar on August 28. It is currently trading around 62.83 to a dollar.

Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan, while announcing the mid-quarter monetary policy review last week, said India needs to build a "bullet-proof national balance sheet" to deal with the fallout on the economy from US Fed's tapering of stimulus that has been only been postponed not done away with.

Interview: Raghuram Rajan

The report meanwhile also noted that even the economies with current account surpluses have not been immune to the sell-off.

"Malaysian and Thai bond yields have also risen, albeit less than those in India and Indonesia, because these economies are growing at a decent clip, inflation is low, and they run current account surpluses, which mean they rely less on external funding to finance growth," it said.

The report studies the performance of Asian markets during previous US tightening cycles in 1994, 1999 and 2004 and after the US Fed's earlier easing programmes in the wake of the 2008 global credit crisis and the resultant recession.

"Asia's tight trade and financial links to the US make it susceptible to changes in US monetary conditions. Asian markets tend to react negatively during US monetary tightening cycles," it said.

Asian equity indices declined 30 per cent peak-to-trough on average during the 1994

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