Asia’s emerging markets and currencies hurt by Fed minutes

India’s rupee hit a new all-time low, while the Indonesia rupiah fell to its lowest level since 2009.

The programme has been used by the US Fed to boost liquidity in the market, a part of which has flowed into Asia, lifting assets price in recent years.

On Wednesday, the minutes of the July meeting of the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, showed that officials were “broadly comfortable” with plans to scale back the $85bn (£54bn) a month bond-buying programme.

While the minutes did not reveal any clues about when the measure may be tapered, analysts said that they did reinforce the view that the tapering will happen.

“Most analysts still expect tapering to start in September, or at the bare minimum a September announcement and implementation through October and November,'” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne.

Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index fell 2.3%, Thailand’s SET was down 1.9% and Malaysia’s Bursa declined 1.8%.

Asia’s emerging markets – once a favourite with global investors – have been falling out favour.

Countries such as India and Indonesia have been hurt by a slowdown in growth as well as their widening current account deficits.

Meanwhile, a decline in global demand has hurt export-dependent economies such as Thailand.

India’s growth rate has fallen to its lowest level in 10 years, while Indonesia saw its expansion rate dip to below 6% for the first time since 2010 during the April-to-June quarter.

Data released earlier this week showed that Thailand’s economy contracted for the second quarter in a row during the April-to-June period, entering a technical recession.

There have been concerns that growth in these countries may dip further.

That, coupled with the speculation of the US central bank scaling back its stimulus programmes, which the Fed first hinted at in June, has seen investors withdraw money from these economies.

That has resulted in high volatility in both the currency and stock markets.

Since their peaks in May, the Jakarta Composite Index and Thailand’s SET have fallen 21% and 19% respectively. Meanwhile, India’s Sensex is down 12% and the Philippine stock index down 18%.

Against the US dollar, the Indonesian rupiah has fallen 18%, the Indian rupee nearly 16%, and the Philippine peso and Thai baht both 10%, since May.

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