Policy uncertainty spillovers to emerging markets - evidence from capital flows

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 26 September 2014

Working Paper No. 512
By Ludovic Gauvin, Cameron McLoughlin and Dennis Reinhardt

We examine the extent to which uncertainty with regard to macroeconomic policies in advanced countries spills over to emerging market economies (EMEs) via gross portfolio bond and equity flows. We find that the impact of fluctuations in policy uncertainty on portfolio equity flows differs markedly depending on whether changes in policy uncertainty originate from the Untied States or the European Union (EU). Increases in US policy uncertainty reduce both bond and equity inflows into EMEs. Conversely, increases in EU policy uncertainty decrease bond inflows, but increase equity inflows. The size and direction of these spillover effects depends on the level of global risk, with increased European policy uncertainty only having a negative impact on bond inflows into EMEs when global risk is high. For equity inflows, the level of country-specific sovereign default risk also matters for non-linearities: increased EU policy uncertainty pushes portfolio equity inflows into EMEs even if global risk is high, but only into countries with low sovereign default risk.
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