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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The plight of emerging markets just got gloomier. The Institute of International Finance predicted Thursday that more money will exit emerging markets than enter them this year, The Wall Street Journal reported. That would mark the first year of net capital outflows since 1988.

The IIF is calling the situation a "deepening drought" and predicts net outflows from emerging-market nations of $541 billion in 2015.

Emerging markets have been facing a combination of negative factors including China's economic slowdown, the strong dollar, falling commodity prices and large amounts of corporate debt gathered over the last few years.

"There are increasing concerns about a slowdown in [emerging-market] growth, amplified by rising concerns about China and continuing uncertainty about Fed lift-off," said Charles Collyns, the chief economist at the IIF, according to an article in the Financial Times.

According to th

e FT

, the IIF says that portfolio investors have already sold $40 billion worth of emerging-market assets in the third quarter of 2015. Dramatic devaluations in many emerging-market currencies and a coinciding strong dollar have also resulted in foreign currency debts becoming more costly, the

Financial Times


The IIF report also estimated that Brazil's corporate debt equals 7.3% of country's GDP thanks to currency depreciation, the FT reported. In order to absorb the impact of capital outflows and protect their economies, the IIF estimated that central banks have already spent roughly $350 billion of reserves, The Wall Street Journal said.

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The IIF findings echo similar concerns financial officials have made recently. In an interview on CNBC Wednesday, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said that even though there is global recovery, it is slowing down.

"The prospect of rising interest rates in the United States and China's slowdown are contributing to uncertainty and higher market volatility," Lagarde said in prepared remarks for a speech the same day, according to CNBC. "There has been a sharp deceleration in the growth of global trade. And the rapid drop in commodity prices is posing problems for resource-based economies."

Falling commodity prices have adversely been affected over the past three years, and output growth has slackened in those emerging markets that are net exporters of those commodities. Low commodity prices and China's slowdown have already disturbed the economies of Vietnam and Kazakhstan, which had devalued their currencies.

The emerging markets seem to be in turmoil with Russia and Brazil already in recession. Economies of Indonesia and Malaysia are also struggling with lower demand for commodities exports. Malaysia announced a multibillion-dollar plan to help stabilize the country's struggling economy.

Emerging markets are having to face expectations for an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Even though Fed Chair Yellen said after the September Federal Open Market Committee meeting that the central bank is "monitoring developments abroad," speculation about a change in Fed policy during the last two FOMC meeting in 2015 will remain crucial for emerging markets.

The World Bank's chief economist, Kaushik Basu, warned early last month that a Fed rate hike at the September meeting could lead to "panic and turmoil" in emerging markets and that the Fed should wait until the global economy stabilizes.

The world's oldest international financial organization, the Bank of International Settlements in its Quarterly Review on Sept. 13 said emerging markets remained the central focus in the current global economy. Worries ranged from the weakening of China's economy to rising dollar debt levels of emerging markets.

Although the U.S. economy remains the strongest compared with other economies, it still may not be strong enough to pull the global economy out of trouble, said Mohamed El-Erian, economic adviser to Allianz, in an interview on CNBC following the release of the IIF report. He also said emerging markets had become "completely unhinged."

Almost all reports this year on emerging markets have been discouraging, and although most of the contributing factors will remain uncertain in the last quarter of 2015, the Fed interest rate hike remains a huge concern for emerging markets.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.