Fed rate hikes to weigh on Thailand, Malaysia, NAB says – Business News

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SINGAPORE: Thailand and Malaysia are the riskiest emerging markets in Asia as the US Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, while the Philippines, followed by India, are National Australia Bank’s(NAB) favourite markets.

Julian Wee, senior markets strategist at the lender in Singapore, says in interview Thailand has benefited a lot from investors looking for a place with lower volatility to put money.

Fundamentals such as growth are still quite weak and there’s political uncertainty with elections next year; it’s not clear that the elections will settle the nation’s political divide.

He says Malaysia has a quite weak foreign-exchange reserves position and it also has elections next year; a lot of the rebound in growth in the first half was due to budget announcements at the end of 2016, which isn’t really sustainable because the nation is in “a bit of a bind” on the fiscal side.

Philippines is the “stand-out” EM in Asia because it has a strong domestic growth engine

India still squeezes in at No. 2 despite the jury still being out on how bad the effect of the demonetization is going to be; NAB thinks the govt will be fiscally disciplined and the bond market will be quite attractive.

NAB forecasts one more Fed rate hike in 2017 and three increases next year, Alan Oster, the lender’s chief economist, says in the same interview.

Overall the global economy is looking “OK,” with the biggest risk being a “severe trade war” between the US and China, he says.

NAB puts the chance of this happening at about 15%-20%. – Bloomberg



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