CNBC Interview DBS Gupta: Emerging market turbulence to be short-lived


“Emerging market turbulence to be short-lived,” South East Asia largest bank, DBS, CEO Piyush Gupta, tells CNBC. Those words, tend to go against the latest from Emerging Market (EM) guru, Mark Mobius, who said he was not in a rush back into EM. Black Rock, the globe’s largest asset management firm, also made earlier moves into EM, before the recent EM rout, is currently quiet on EM. Both Mobius and Black Rock, were hit a bit, by the EM rout. Other large fund manager, have started some bargain hunting, however. The EM route started with news of the USA Fed tapering monetary easing of QE. The QE threat lay the ground for many economist, to start looking at EM weaknesses.Latest from the USA Fed, is a bit more cool towards QE tapering.

CNBC’s Ansuya Harjani reports: (Source)

Turbulence in emerging markets stemming from the Federal Reserve’s decision to scale back its stimulus program will be short-lived, said Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS, Southeast Asia’s biggest bank.

“There may be some short-term turbulence as short-term hot money leaves the region, but over the course of the year I think [emerging markets] will do fine,” Gupta told CNBC on Friday.

Gupta says inflows from the Fed’s third quantitative easing (QE) program into the region were not as high as many believe.

“If you think about the entire QE3 – our economists suggest that 85 percent [was] fed back into the Fed’s coffers. The actual inflows of money that came over to the emerging markets were not that substantial,” he said.

“If you look at mutual fund flows into Asia into the last 18 months, they have not been great. In fact they’ve been limping or going out. So there is some hot money, but the implied impact of that is overdone,” he added.

In the latest bout of volatility to hit emerging markets amid the Fed’s dialing back of asset purchases, India and Indonesia – seen as vulnerable because of their twin fiscal and current-account deficits, falling growth rates and above-target inflation – saw little trauma , Gupta noted.

DBS on Friday reported a 6 percent rise in profit during the fourth quarter driven by growth in both loans and fees earned by wealth management and other divisions. Net profit for the October-December period was 802 million Singapore dollars ($634 million), up from S$760 million a year earlier.

Gupta said growth in noninterest related income would continue to be a driver of the bank’s earnings.

“Our whole focus has been to build out very diverse drivers of growth – so wealth management is indeed one, transaction banking, cash management, and the treasury component of our customer focused activities,” he said.

Recent media reports have suggested that DBS is in advanced talks to buy Societe Generale’s Asian private bank. Gupta declined to comment on this.

Property market outlook

Gupta said while he anticipates a property market correction in Singapore, he is not concerned about the impact of falling property prices on the bank’s mortgage portfolio, given relatively low loan-to-value ratios (LVR) in the city-state. LVR is a measure of how much a bank lends against residential property, compared to the value of that property.

Private home prices in the city-state fell for the first time in almost two years in the fourth quarter of 2013 as cooling measures damped demand.

“Most lenders including ourselves can withstand a drop off in property prices of a meaningful level without really being impacted from a portfolio quality standpoint,” Gupta said.

“Unless you have large scale unemployment, it’s unlikely you’ll find a lot of pressure on mortgage portfolios,” he said.


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