Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Cyprus will have huge impact on Emerging Markets and we can analyze and determine why from two points of view.
Emerging Markets is a sexy term crafted by promoters, mutual funds, banks, and money managers to basically dress up high risk sovereign situations. " Lipstick on a Pig Markets" would not have the same marketing or sales flair to it, so a more sanitized semantics is useful.
But what are we dealing with really? Generally speaking, third world economies where the business, legal and ethical practises are not that well-established or developed. Moreover, the risk of political power changes is high and thereby the rules of the game. And not all countries are the same; the risks of change extremism is further heightened by theological and cultural beliefs. In short, the rules are more likely to change at any moment in these countries' economies.
The defining of financial risks has a checkered past, in fact, the definitions often result from events or fancy theory. They do not have the same certitudes of scientific discovery or observation. Systemic risk is a product of the debatable "efficient market hypothesis", while settlement and counter-party risks were discovered when related events created serious turmoil in the markets. Counter-party risk was not a major concern until the experiences of the 2008 meltdown came home to roost. You could say that it didn't exist until these events occurred - it was an Unknown, Unknown.
With the Cyprus deposit tax (theft) proposal another such "Unknown, Unknown Risk " is now known and self-evident - Cyprus Risk. What is Cyprus Risk? It is basically the possibility that a sovereign nation will confiscate the assets of savers or investors arbitrarily without notice or due process of law. This risk applies not just to deposits, but all types of financial assets; including, reality, stocks, gold, bonds and insurance instruments. It is a risk that must now be imputed into the ambiguities of risk management algorithms.
Emerging markets, because there is a greater likelihood of game-changing rules, should now be expected to pay a higher premium on capital to compensate for this additional risk. This premium may also be calculated into capital costs of EU countries. The premium will, hence, add restrictions to liquidity flows and raise earnings expectations of investors and savers. Both will act to depress the value of assets, such as stocks, bonds and real property in these higher risk markets.
It is still too early to tell what exact economic outcomes will be of Cyprus Risk, but bringing this heretofore, unknown, unknown risk out from under the covers cannot be a positive discovery for neither Emerging Markets nor the EU.
Dr Peter G Kinesa
March 20, 2013