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Goldman's bet on emerging currencies is Brics without 'C'

Jan 06 2017 13:50
Christopher Anstey

Tokyo - Goldman Sachs, home to the team that conceived the Bric framework for investing in the largest emerging markets, is urging investors to "stay the course" with bets on the currencies of Brazil, Russia and India, along with South Africa.

When it comes to China, Goldman anticipates a "grinding" move lower for the yuan this year, "analogous to 2016."

Goldman emerging-market strategists led by Kamakshya Trivedi in London predicted in a note dated on Thursday the yuan will retreat to 7.3 per dollar by year-end, more bearish than the 7.16 median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.
It was at 6.883 on Thursday in Beijing.

China, South Korea and other Asian economies are vulnerable to US President-elect Donald Trump’s protectionist election manifesto translating into policy and regulatory action. By contrast, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa are less at risk, Goldman analysts reckon.

"Mapping US 'swing state' job losses with emerging-market-US trade flows suggests that these 'good carry' candidates appear less likely to face US import restrictions because their exports compete less directly with US labour," the Goldman analysts wrote.

The analysts cited improving balance of payments, falling paths for inflation, attractive real yields and prospects for stronger growth this year in the four big emerging markets they favour.

"Preferred emerging-market longs can be funded out of non-Japan Asia low-yielders (South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit) or in non-dollar developed markets (euro, yen, pound)," they wrote.

China’s yuan could potentially fall further than 7.3 per dollar by year-end, Goldman said.

 Accelerated capital outflows, or depreciation carried out as a policy response to Trump protectionism, are among the risk scenarios.

"The best times to gain exposure to dollar-yuan weakness have tended to be when China concerns were off radar screens, or after periodic interventions that flushed out bearish speculative positions and provided attractive entry points," the Goldman analysts wrote.

"That remains our view today."

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