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End to QE to 'split' emerging markets

By WEI TIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-14 09:00

The United States plan to taper its quantitative easing policy will "split" emerging economies, with some — including China — better-placed to withstand the change while others will face currency depreciation and capital flight, experts said.

"QE tapering by the US will be the single biggest uncertainty for the world economy," Li Daokui, a professor at Tsinghua University and former adviser to China's central bank, said at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2013, known as Summer Davos, in Dalian, Liaoning province, on Friday.

The US Federal Reserve has signaled it may soon slow its $85 billion-a-month purchasing program of government bonds and mortgage-backed securities, which started in December.

Li said the move would mean at least $2 trillion in losses in capital markets globally and lead to capital flight and currency depreciation in emerging markets.

"The world economy will be full of drama in the next one or two years," Li said, adding that emerging economies such as Brazil and India may experience a financial crisis.

But when it comes to China, Li said it would sustain only a mild direct impact from QE tapering — and there might even be a slight positive effect.

"It will be good news for the renminbi, which can finally be freed from appreciation pressure," he said.

"China will be largely immune to the impact due to its sustained current-account surplus, low foreign debt, huge exchange reserves, high savings and capital controls," Lu Ting, China economist at Merrill Lynch, has written in an article.

That said, Li pointed out that QE tapering will "further split emerging economies".

He added that the concept of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) may vanish, leaving "just China versus other emerging economies".

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