Leading emerging countries have burned through $240 billion in foreign exchange reserves over the past two months, Bank of America said on Monday, as central banks look to prop up their currencies and economies in the face of COVID-19.
The drain was likely to continue albeit at a slower pace, Bank of America added in a note citing reserves data for 31 states.
China, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Turkey had all seen the biggest total drop in reserves, the bank said.
Turkey and Egypt had seen particularly large percentage declines, it added. Turkey and Romania also stood out as their official reserves did not fully cover short-term external debt over 12 months, the note said.
“The drain of [EM] reserves is likely to continue, though more slowly, during what looks to be a disappointing recovery in global and EM growth,” David Hauner at BofA wrote in the note.
“After an initial bounce in activity after the opening of lockdowns, several factors are likely to restrain the recovery: high debt, corporate defaults, inefficient labour markets, de-globalisation and China-U.S. tensions.”