In the wake of the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to further taper its asset-purchase program, U.S. and Asian equity markets fell sharply, extending recent losses.
Asian currencies headed back toward recent lows against the dollar and the Turkish lira slipped 0.2 percent to 2.26 to the dollar, after strengthening Wednesday on a sharp hike in Turkish interest rates a day earlier.
"Since late last week, we have seen a clear break in developed market assets, with significant sell-offs in U.S. equity and credit and a corresponding rally in Treasury markets," Goldman said. "Coming on the back of emerging market turbulence, this has led to renewed focus on whether emerging market problems could spill over (or are already spilling over) to the economic outlook for the developed world."
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But it noted that even during the Asian Financial Crisis and the broader emerging market crises of the late 1990s, developed economies didn't feel the sting. "Transmission of emerging market problems, even very substantial ones, to the rest of the world through these channels is far from a foregone conclusion," it said, believing the threshold for contagion is high.
"Emerging market demand would have to slow sharply further to have a large impact through trade channels, particularly since lower commodity prices and bond yields would provide some offset," Goldman said.
While there is a larger risk that contagion could come through the banking system or financial markets via tighter financial market conditions, the developed world's banking exposures to emerging markets aren't particularly alarming, it said.
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"Slower emerging market demand growth would likely put downward pressure on commodity prices, improving real incomes for developed market consumers," Goldman said. "Capital flowing out of emerging market economies may flow into developed market economies, improving their financing conditions."
At the same time, if the emerging world's struggles do begin to have an impact, developed market policymakers can adjust their policy, possibly by signaling easier monetary policy, it noted.