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JPMorgan warns 10% of junk-rated emerging markets face debt crises

JPMorgan warns 10% of junk-rated emerging markets face debt crises

A vendor prepares a bag for a customer at a wholesale market, amid the country's economic crisis in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Apr 13, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

LONDON: Rising borrowing costs and the global fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war could see up to 10 per cent of riskier, 'junk'-rated emerging market countries suffer debt crises this year, analysts at US investment bank JPMorgan have warned.

More acute balance of payment pressures and larger fiscal deficits are now compounding problems for heavily-indebted countries that import most of their energy and food.

"Nearly half of the country sample is classified as carrying high repayment risk in our assessment. Of these, eight are at risk of reserve depletion by the end of 2023, signalling high default risks. These are Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bahamas, Belize Senegal, Rwanda, Grenada, and Ethiopia," said the note led by strategist Trang Nguyen on Tuesday (May 24).

A jump in global interest rates in response to fast-rising inflation also means many are facing the reality of rising borrowing costs, a departure from over a decade of so-called "easy money".

"Accounting for risks of a potential default in Russia and restructuring in Ukraine ... the EM sovereign HY default rate could reach 10 per cent this year when also considering Sri Lanka and Ethiopia on the back of the Common Framework process," the note added.

Source: Reuters/ng

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