Forex Blog: Currency Trading News & Analysis.

October 23rd 2008

Emerging Markets Currencies Hurt by Derivatives

Emerging Market currencies are becoming the latest victims of financial derivatives, proving Warren Buffet’s claim that such contracts represent "financial weapons of mass destruction." Apparently, companies throughout the developing world (although predominantly in Latin America) had used derivatives to bet on the strength of their home currencies, relative to the US Dollar. Given their record appreciation over the preceding few years, such bets probably appeared risk-less. As investors have fled emerging markets en masse, however, such currencies have tumbled. This has forced companies that had bet against the Dollar to rapidly unwind their derivative positions, which only caused their currencies to decline further. The Mexican Peso and Brazilian Real, to name the most prominent examples, are now in a virtual tailspin. Another "short squeeze" is probably not far away. The Wall Street Journal reports:

[Investors] had begun pulling money out of Mexico and other emerging markets. Since Aug. 1, the peso has dropped 24% against the dollar, and in October careened through its biggest daily drops since a 1994 currency crisis.

Read More: Big Currency Bets Backfire

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