The difficulties for emerging markets have entered a new phase. What were once clearly country-specific crises, well contained within their borders, are bleeding across the world. To stem the slide in its currency Argentina raised its key rate to a whopping 60 percent on Thursday, but the peso was still 30 percent weaker from Monday. Though Turkey is no closer to solving its many problems, it’s hard to see why the lira needed to fall 4 percent on Thursday. Explanations that this is due to the resignation of one of the central bank’s four deputy governors don’t convince — he’s only gone to take another government job.  Similarly, there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason why South Africa’s rand or the Brazilian real needed to weaken about 3 percent.

This looks like contagion. One emerging country’s problems have become other emerging countries’ problems, and it’s hard to see how to break the cycle.  What’s really worrying is that this week’s gyrations don’t look to have be...

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