Emerging Currencies Drop, Led by Forint, After Greece ‘No’ Vote

The Hungarian forint and the Romanian leu led emerging-market currencies lower as Greece’s rejection of austerity measures heightened the chance the nation will exit the euro, damping demand for riskier assets.

A Bloomberg gauge of developing-nation exchange rates dropped 0.4 percent as of 9:48 a.m. in Singapore, set for its lowest close since March 19. Sixty-one percent of Greek voters supported Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s call to say ‘No’ to further spending cuts and tax increases in a referendum on bailout terms proposed by creditors.

“Emerging-market currencies are poised to come under additional downward pressure in the coming days from heightened financial-market turbulence,” Jason Daw, head of Asian currency strategy at Societe Generale SA in Singapore, wrote in a note. “Developments in Greece will serve to reinforce the weakness in emerging-market currencies” amid concern the U.S. will raise borrowing costs this year, he said.

The forint slid 1.1 percent versus the dollar and the leu dropped 1 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Polish zloty and the Turkish lira each weakened 0.9 percent. Malaysia’s ringgit lost 0.8 percent. No emerging-market currencies strengthened in markets open for trading.

The Greek result reverberated quickly across Europe’s political establishment. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande called for an emergency leaders’ summit on Tuesday, with banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. saying a Greek departure from the euro is now the most likely scenario. The euro lost 0.6 percent.

“Risk-off prevails while markets re-price for the increased probability of Grexit,” said Tim Condon, head of Asia research in Singapore at ING Groep NV.

The ringgit led declines in Asia, weakening beyond 3.80 per dollar for the first time since a peg at that level was scrapped in 2005. The government is probing a newspaper report that Prime Minster Najib Razak misappropriated funds from state investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd., a claim he says is political sabotage.