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Fed Policy Expectations and Portfolio Flows to Emerging Markets

50 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2014 Last revised: 1 Aug 2015

Robin Koepke

International Monetary Fund

Date Written: July 31, 2015


The empirical literature has long established that U.S. interest rates are an important driver of international portfolio flows, with lower rates “pushing” capital to emerging markets. On the basis of this literature, it is often argued that the Federal Reserve’s imminent policy tightening cycle is likely to weigh on portfolio flows to emerging markets in coming years. The analysis presented in this paper offers a different interpretation of the literature, suggesting that it is the surprise element of monetary policy that affects EM portfolio inflows. A shift in market expectations towards easier future U.S. monetary policy leads to greater foreign portfolio inflows and vice versa. Given current market expectations of sustained increases in the federal funds rate in coming years, EM portfolio flows could be boosted by a slower pace of Fed tightening than currently expected or could be reduced by a faster pace of Fed tightening.

Keywords: Capital Flows, Emerging Economies, U.S. Monetary Policy, Market Expectations, Push and Pull, Taper Tantrum

JEL Classification: E43, F32, F41, F42, G11

Suggested Citation

Koepke, Robin, Fed Policy Expectations and Portfolio Flows to Emerging Markets (July 31, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Robin Koepke (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund ( email )

United States

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