May 16, 2019 / 5:09 AM / 6 days ago

Trade war flare-up spurs biggest EM outflows in seven months: IIF

FILE PHOTO: Investors look at computer screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Emerging markets saw the heaviest capital flight since last October in recent weeks as trade tensions between China and the United States escalated, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said in a report on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump surprised global markets last week by hiking tariffs on Chinese goods in the midst of trade negotiations, saying China had backtracked on earlier commitments. Beijing retaliated on Monday.

The emerging market exodus was led by Chinese equities, which saw outflows of $1.5 billion on Monday, after investors took $2.5 billion off the table last week, according to the IIF.

Outflows from Taiwan hit $400 million on Wednesday, and other emerging Asian countries, such as South Korea, India and Indonesia, “have mirrored China’s trend, highlighting the risks to the broader EM complex from increased US-China trade tensions,” said IIF economists Jonathan Fortun and Greg Basile.

But bond inflows remained steady, with Thailand recording its highest daily inflows in nearly three months this week, at over $240 million.

IIF said recent outflows came to around $1 billion, largest since last October’s $1.1 billion.

Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Kim Coghill

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