(Bloomberg) -- With emerging-market economies around the world struggling with lower-than-expected growth, many policy makers are waiting for a clearer guidance on U.S. policy to start their own easing cycles amid permissive inflation.
Russia joined Chile and India on Friday in lowering its benchmark rate and many others are expected to follow suit. South Africa, South Korea, Brazil and Turkey all seen taking the same road sooner rather than later.
Escalating global trade woes and local political instability in developing nations are seen as the main reasons behind sluggish investment that is weighing on hopes of an improvement in activity in the near term.
The South Korean won dropped for two straight sessions this week after the governor of the central bank, Lee Ju-yeol, said Wednesday that the bank will respond “appropriately” to economic changes. The country’s Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki saw the comment as a clear signal that the bank is leaning toward an easing stance.
In Turkey, policy makers kept the repo rate unchanged earlier this week, while tweaking the language in its statement to accommodate a potential rate cut in the second half of the year if tensions with the U.S. and Istanbul’s upcoming mayoral elections don’t prompt excessive volatility.
Traders in Brazil have also started to bet the country’s benchmark rate will fall to a new record in the second half. While the central bank has remained mum about a potential rate cut, traders have been boosting odds the Selic will fall as the pension bill advances in Congress, increasing confidence the government’s plan to fix the country’s fiscal accounts will succeed.
Easing cycles in Mexico and South Africa, meanwhile, may take longer to materialize. Banxico officials have taken a more prudent approach compared to their emerging-market counterparts due to concerns over state-oil giant Pemex, as well as trading woes with the U.S. Deputy central bank governor Jonathan Heath said the country shouldn’t start cutting rates while threats by President Donald Trump to slap tariffs on Mexican goods persist. Still, many analysts also see an easing cycle approaching.
In South Africa, the 3-2 split decision at the last central bank meeting with two members calling for a 25bps rate cut has led more analysts to start seeing lower rates. The consensus, though, is still that borrowing costs will be left on hold for now.
Bank Indonesia is moving closer toward an interest rate cut after six hikes in 2018, though policy makers probably won’t move as soon as next week. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said this week Indonesia will likely follow other central banks in easing monetary policy as global growth deteriorates, with Citigroup Inc predicting a rate cut as early as the third quarter.
The Philippines and Malaysia both cut interest rates in May. Economists are divided on whether the Philippines will ease again next week.
A generalized move towards lower rates in risky assets might trigger a strengthening of the U.S. dollar, which makes the Fed’s stance critical to provide emerging market officials with more certainty that cuts won’t prompt a sell-off in local currencies and end up boosting inflation.
--With assistance from Nasreen Seria and Tomoko Yamazaki.
To contact the reporter on this story: Davison Santana in Sao Paulo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Julia Leite at email@example.com, Philip Sanders
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.