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Southeast Asia braces for emerging-market capital flight

Thailand keeps its cool while Turkey and Argentina hit hardest

The Turkish lira has plunged sharply as prospects for a U.S. interest rate hike have grown.   © Reuters

TOKYO/NEW YORK -- U.S. rate hikes have sorted emerging markets into winners and losers as investors pull capital from particularly unstable countries, though steep dollar debts may soon drag even Southeast Asia -- fairly healthy so far -- into the losers' circle.

The Turkish lira and the Argentine peso have each depreciated 15% to 20% against the dollar over the past month alone, with their values scraping record lows. Weak finances and fiscal discipline make these countries vulnerable to capital flight as interest rates rise in the U.S.

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