Trump’s defeat sends emerging stocks into orbit
EMERGING stocks flirted with 27-month highs yesterday while currencies firmed a touch as the dollar traded at 10-month lows after the collapse of a key US health care bill raised doubts about President Donald Trump’s reform agenda.
MSCI’s benchmark emerging stocks index held at levels not seen since end-April 2015, still underpinned by Monday’s solid Chinese economic growth data, which beat consensus forecasts and showed firmer exports and production.
Chinese mainland shares rose 0.3 percent after falling 1.4 percent on Monday due to a sharp sell-off in small caps, and Hong Kong gained 0.2 percent.
Russian dollar-denominated stocks also rose 0.4 percent, helped by higher oil prices.
But gains were offset by losses in other markets. Turkish stocks fell 0.5 percent and Indian shares slipped 0.6 percent from the record highs hit in the previous session. Higher taxes on cigarette makers clobbered index heavyweight ITC.
Emerging currencies made marginal gains after the dollar slipped 0.4 percent against a basket of currencies, hit by the failure of the revised US health care reform bill .
“(It raises) doubts about President Trump’s ability to reflate the economy,” said Inan Demir, senior emerging economist at Nomura. Fading US rate hike bets have also weighed on the dollar after Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen indicated that the Fed’s rate hikes could be gradual.
“Emerging market currencies have already benefited from a strong risk appetite since Yellen’s speech last week, which was followed up by the weak CPI data,” Demir added. “Even though the (healthcare bill) failure led to a broad-based dollar weakness, the incremental impact on EM currencies from this is limited given that they have already rallied.”
Higher-yielding currencies in Asia were among the beneficiaries, with the Thai baht hitting a two-year high and the South Korean won gaining 0.3 percent to touch a one-month high. China’s yuan also firmed for the seventh straight session.
Both the South African rand and Turkish lira held near twoweek highs. On Monday Turkey extended emergency rule for another three months, almost a year after it was imposed in the wake of last July’s failed military coup.
The Hungarian forint was steady against the euro, ahead of a central bank meeting at which it is expected to keep rates on hold at record lows of 0.9 percent.
The International Bank of Azerbaijan, the country’s biggest state-run bank, will announce full voting results from creditors on its proposed $3.3 billion (R42.81bn) debt restructuring after a claimants’ meeting later in the day.
Meanwhile President Trump has threatened “strong and swift economic actions” if Venezuela goes ahead with plans to create a Constituent Assembly with powers to rewrite the constitution and annul the opposition-led legislature.
“With FX reserves below $10bn for the first time since 2002 and the economy falling further into an abyss, it is only trade partners who can have a say now,” Simon Quijano-Evans, an emerging markets strategist at Legal & General Investment
The dollar traded at 10-month lows yesterday after the collapse of a key US health care bill which raised doubts about President Donald Trump’s reform agenda.